Neovacs has announced a research collaboration that could lead to the development of the first diabetes type I vaccine and access its massive market.
Neovacs is a Biotech from France that develops therapies for autoimmune diseases. The company just announced plans to explore a vaccine candidate for diabetes type I in collaboration with researchers from the Cochin Hospital in Paris.
Neovacs’ leading pipeline candidate is Interferon alpha-Kinoid, a conjugate vaccine for Lupus currently in Phase IIb. The aim of the new collaboration is to conduct preclinical studies in mice models to assess the ability of IFNα-Kinoid to treat diabetes type I.
Similar to Lupus, high levels of IFNα are observed in diabetes type I. This cytokine is thought to be responsible for the attack of healthy tissues in autoimmune diseases. Neovacs’ IFNα-Kinoid acts by inducing an immune response against IFNα, lowering the cytokine levels. For more info on Neovacs’ technology, check out our interview.
Currently, diabetes type I patients have to deal with this condition for life, controlling the symptoms with daily injections of insulin. The first to find a cure will gain access to the massive €32B that the diabetes type I market is predicted to reach by 2024. If successful, Neovacs will make a huge step up as a pioneer in diabetes type I.
Companies all around the world are working in awesome technology like mobile apps and needle-free glucose monitoring to make the life of patients easier. However, very few are aiming for a cure. Transplantation has been extensively explored as a diabetes treatment, but rejection is still a major problem in the long term. Other strategies focus on suppressing the immune system, which can have very severe side-effects. Neovacs’ new technology could circumvent these limitations with a whole new approach.
Since the drug is intended as a vaccine, I wonder if the therapy will not be indicated for those in which the long-term progression of the disease has already completely eliminated all beta-pancreatic cells. We’ll have to wait until the results are published, I’m excited to hear more about it soon!
Update (Original publication 13/10/2016): NeoVacs has announced plans to obtain preclinical proof of concept in 2017 for its type 1 diabetes program and to initiate clinical development in the first half of 2018 with the recommendation of its Scientific Advisory Board.
Images from Ratmaner/Shutterstock, Neovacs