Selecta Nanoparticles Help You to Stop Smoking

December 18. 2013. 2 mins read
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In previous articles we discussed companies such as Bind Therapeutics and pSivida that are using nanotechnology to improve the effectiveness of drug delivery. Drug delivery is just one of many applications nanotechnology has in the area of biosciences. Selecta Biosciences is a biopharmaceutical company developing the first generation of nanoparticle immunotherapy drugs for the treatment and prevention of human diseases.

About Selecta Biosciences

Launched in 2008, Massachusetts based Selecta Biosciences was co-founded by MIT’s Robert Langer, a prolific scientist who has founded 20 biotech companies including nano drug delivery company BIND Therapeutics which we profiled in an earlier article. Selecta has received over $100 million in funding so far from high profile investors including Polaris Partners, Flagship Ventures, NanoDimension, and RUSNANO.  In 2012 Selecta entered into a deal with Sanofi, the world’s fourth-largest company by prescription sales, to discover antigen-specific immunotherapies for food allergies. The Sanofi deal has a potential of $900 million in milestones, plus a cut of sales for the products developed as a result.

Platform and Pipeline

Selecta’s proprietary SVP platform is based on a combination of scientific breakthroughs in immunobiology and nanotechnology. The Company’s initial product candidate is a first-in-class synthetic vaccine against nicotine for the critically under-served worldwide market of smoking cessation and relapse prevention. Although nicotine is not a virus, Selecta’s nanoparticles target nicotine as if it were a virus by initiating an immune response in the body. An injection of synthetic nanoparticles prompts the immune system to create antibodies which bind to incoming nicotine molecules so that they become too large to cross the blood-brain barrier. The biodegradable nanoparticles used are based on materials that are FDA approved and have been in clinical use for more than 30 years. The company has a broad pipeline of potential applications for their platform as follows:


Selecta has licensed a portfolio of 17 groundbreaking foundational inventions on an exclusive and worldwide basis from MIT, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School giving the company an intellectual property estate of more than 80 patent families. With their strong partnerships, unique applications of their technology, and a hot IPO market for biotech companies this year, Selecta may well seek an exit in the near future which would give retail investors an opportunity to invest in this unique nanotechnology enabled platform.


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  1. Nicotine is a key molecule in the central nervous system and in other several organ systems. Eliciting an immune response against nicotine will be a mess in the whole entire system.