Anti-smoking vaccine fails

Posted by Lydia Leavitt

For smokers hoping to quit, the idea of a quick fix in the form of a "magic" vaccine seemed almost too good to be true. No patches, no gross nicotine gum, just a shot.

Unfortunately, Nabi Biopharmaceuticals, the company responsible for a proposed anti-smoking vaccine, confirmed the failure of the shot during late-stage testing.

The company reported approximately 11 percent of patients that received a placebo shot were able to quit smoking, which is pretty much comparable to those treated with the actual NicVAX shot.

Testing 1,000 patients over the course of a year, the 11 percent success rate was hardly what the company had expected.

"We are clearly surprised and deeply disappointed with the results of this first NicVAX Phase III trial," said President and CEO Raafat Fahim.

The NicVAX formula trains a person's immune system to make nicotine antibodies, which attach to nicotine molecules every time a person smokes.

Once attached, the nicotine is unable to reach the smoker's brain, thus stopping the cycle of addiction and allowing for a smoke-free existence.

NicVAX was slated to make more than $500 million from drug maker GlaxoSmithKline PLC if the vaccine had indeed worked.

Sadly, it's back to the drawing board for these scientists, much to the dismay of smokers hoping to quit.

(Via Associated Press