ROCKVILLE, Md., Nov. 3, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nabi Biopharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:NABI) announced that it has initiated the first of two pivotal Phase III clinical trials for NicVAX(R) (Nicotine Conjugate Vaccine), the company's innovative and proprietary vaccine to treat nicotine addiction and prevent smoking relapse. This study is being funded in part with a $10 million grant from U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health. The FDA has agreed with Nabi on the study design, protocol and end points through a Special Protocol Assessment (SPA). The SPA forms a basic foundation to support approval of a New Drug Application. The Company also received scientific advice from the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) that confirms and supports the trial protocol, increasing the possibility of a positive outcome.
"This is a significant step for Nabi, our shareholders and the millions of smokers around the world who want to quit smoking," said Dr. Raafat Fahim, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nabi Biopharmaceuticals. "We were very encouraged by the results of the phase IIb proof of concept and believe that since that study, we have improved the dosing schedule and the phase III NicVAX trial design. The initiation of the Phase III study solidifies our leadership position as the most advanced smoking cessation pipeline vaccine. We are encouraged by the increased interest in this program while we continue to pursue a strategic partnership for the continued development and commercialization of NicVAX."
How NicVAX Works
When nicotine enters the bloodstream, it quickly crosses the blood-brain barrier and binds to nicotinic receptors in the brain, triggering the release of stimulants like dopamine that provide the smoker with a positive sensation that eventually leads to addiction. NicVAX stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies that bind to nicotine creating an antigen/antibody complex that is too large to cross the blood-brain barrier. In this way, NicVAX blocks nicotine from reaching these receptors in the brain and prevents the highly-addictive pleasure sensation experienced by smokers and users of nicotine products. Pre-clinical and previous clinical data show that NicVAX's ability to block nicotine from reaching the brain could help people quit smoking. Because the nicotine antibodies circulate for long periods of time, Nabi believes NicVAX may also be effective in preventing smoking relapse. This is a very important difference between NicVAX and existing anti-smoking treatment therapies. Relapse is a significant challenge facing smokers and, with currently-available smoking cessation therapies, relapse rates can be as high as 90% in the first year after a smoker quits.
About the Phase III Study
The initial Phase III study for NicVAX is a double-blinded, placebo-controlled study comprised of approximately 1,000 patients. The primary endpoint of the study is the abstinence rate at 12 months. Abstinence will be evaluated by several measures, including self-reported cigarette consumption, and exhaled carbon dioxide. Secondary endpoints include the abstinence rate at various time intervals, safety and immunogenicity, and the effect of NicVAX on withdrawal symptoms, cigarette consumption, smoking satisfaction and nicotine dependency. Study results are anticipated by the third quarter of 2011.
About Nabi Biopharmaceuticals
Nabi Biopharmaceuticals leverages its experience and knowledge in powering the immune system to develop products that target serious medical conditions in the areas of nicotine addiction and gram-positive bacterial infections. Nabi Biopharmaceuticals is currently developing NicVAX(R) (Nicotine Conjugate Vaccine), an innovative and proprietary investigational vaccine for treatment of nicotine addiction and prevention of smoking relapse, and PentaStaph(TM) (Pentavalent S. aureus Vaccine), a vaccine designed to protect against the most dangerous and prevalent strains of S. aureus bacterial infections. The company is headquartered in Rockville, Maryland. For additional information about Nabi Biopharmaceuticals, please visit our Web site: http://www.nabi.com.
Statements in this release that are not strictly historical are forward-looking statements and include statements about products in development, results and analyses of clinical trials and studies, research and development expenses, cash expenditures, licensure applications and approvals, and alliances and partnerships, among other matters. You can identify these forward-looking statements because they involve our expectations, intentions, beliefs, plans, projections, anticipations, or other characterizations of future events or circumstances. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements as a result of any number of factors. These factors include, but are not limited to, risks relating to our ability to: successfully close the sale of PentaStaph and complete the PentaStaph sale milestones; partner with third parties to fund, develop, manufacture and/or commercialize our products in development; defend against indemnification claims by Biotest; initiate and conduct clinical trials and studies; raise sufficient new capital resources to fully develop and commercialize our products in development; attract, retain and motivate key employees; collect further milestone and royalty payments under the PhosLo Agreement; obtain regulatory approval for our products in the U.S. or other markets; successfully contract with third party manufacturers for the manufacture and supply of NicVAX and PentaStaph; and comply with reporting and payment obligations under government rebate and pricing programs. Some of these factors are more fully discussed, as are other factors, in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 27, 2008 and our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the period ended March 28, 2009 and June 27, 2009 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
CONTACT: Nabi Biopharmaceuticals