Thursday, November 7, 2013

Smoking vaccine fails clinical trials, $4.1 million in taxpayer dollars down the drain

Thursday, July 21, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: smoking vaccineclinical trialshealth news

An experimental new anti-smoking vaccine has failed miserably in clinical trials, faring no better than a placebo shot at helping people to quit smoking.

Produced in partnership with drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Nabi Biopharmaceuticals' NicVAX was intended to help people quit smoking by triggering the production of antibodies that would attach to nicotine and prevent the substance from reaching the brain -- but the vaccine has proven to be nothing but non helpful medicine.

According to reports, the yearlong study involved 1,000 people that were given either NicVAX or a placebo shot, and who were tracked to observe smoking habits following treatment. Roughly 11 percent of patients who received the NicVAX shot quit smoking, but the same amount from the placebo group also quit smoking -- in other words, there was no difference at all in quit rates between the two groups.

Upon news of the failed Phase III trial, Nabi's stock price dropped a massive 70 percent, and GSK's dropped about one percent. But what is even more shocking is the fact that Nabi had used $4.1 million in taxpayer dollars to fund research for NicVAX. The company's website openly discloses that the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) had granted $4.1 million in funding to the company back in 2005 for the project.

Remember, both Nabi and GSK are private, for-profit drug companies, and GSK had a net income in 2010 of nearly $3 billion. And yet the US government decided to take Americans' hard earned money and funnel it into a failed project that, if eventually "successful" (at least in terms of somehow gaining FDA approval, not in terms of actually working to "cure" 
smoking), will translate into $500 million in profits for Nabi, and possibly even more for GSK.

Learn more:

Posted by:

 Rajni Jaiswal

Faculty of Bioinformatics