There was once great promise for a Quit Smoking Vaccine hitting the market. The nicotine vaccine, called NicVAX was being developed by Nabi Biopharmaceuticals. The hope was to “cure” a person
from nicotine addiction. Not much has been heard about the Stop Smoking Shot over the last few years, so we’re going to provide an update on what’s been going on in the world of Nicotine Vaccines.
What is it the Stop Smoking Shot?
NicVax was a vaccine that was injected at different intervals, usually 4-20 weeks, into the arms of smokers who were trying to quit. NicVAX was designed to help the human body produce antibodies that bind to the nicotine in the bloodstream and prevent/slow it’s entry to the brain. The idea was to prevent the pleasurable feeling of nicotine and stop the positive feedback loop associated with smoking cigarettes. In theory it was supposed to make smoking no longer feel good and make quitting much easier.
What happened to it?
In 2005 Nabi Pharmaceutical ran some promising Phase II clinical trials showing that 26% of smokers who responded highly to the vaccine were able to quit and stay quit for at least 30 days .
Piggybacking on the good results Nabi ran two Phase III trials back to back in 2009 and 2010. Unfortunately, by 2011 Nabi announced that both of the phase III clinical trials had failed to be any better than placebo . The results crushed the stock price of Nabi and effectively killed the NicVAX project. Needless to say Nabi Pharmaceutical no longer exists.
What does the future hold for Nicotine Vaccines?
Although Nabi has given up the project, a new company Selecta Biosciences has picked up the project. Selecta is using a slightly different technique by using Synthetic Vaccine Particles. At the moment, Selecta has not started clinical trials yet. They plan to begin animal testing early in 2016.
The bottom line is that although once promising, we’re at least 5+ years away from a stop smoking shot hitting the market. And that’s assuming everything goes well! Our thought is don’t hold your breath, get a head start on quitting. Try Quitbit, NRTs, or even going cold turkey!