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Selecta, JDRF and Sanofi Extend Collaboration

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Selecta Biosciences, Inc., and JDRF, have extended their joint research collaboration and attracted Sanofi as a partner in support of their program to develop a Synthetic Vaccine Particle (SVP™) immunotherapy with the long-term goal to treat and potentially prevent the underlying cause of type 1 diabetes. This collaborative research program is aimed at accelerating the advancement of an SVP immunotherapy designed to reset the immune system and restore tolerance to substances (antigens) that cause the immune attacks on insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Selecta’s proprietary tolerogenic SVP products show potential to re-educate the immune system to stop or suppress pro-inflammatory responses against a specific antigen, thereby halting the undesirable immune reaction without causing harmful global immune suppression common with general immune system modulating drugs. 

As part of their collaboration, JDRF and Sanofi are co-financing the program with the aim of advancing the SVP product candidate to the clinic. This next phase of the SVP development program has been structured as a grant award to Selecta in order to test up to four antigens that may succeed in stopping the autoimmune response that destroys beta cells.

“This agreement with JDRF and Sanofi is a next step in our research to advance SVP in type 1 diabetes,” said Werner Cautreels, Ph.D., President and CEO at Selecta. “Selecta’s proprietary SVP platform has broad applications in tolerance and Selecta is now active in multiple areas of high medical need, including undesired immune responses to biological drugs, and gene therapy, allergies, and autoimmune diseases.”

“JDRF has a strategic research plan designed to deliver a sustained stream of new, life-changing therapies.  Our support of Selecta is one part of our restoration research program whose ultimate goal is to restore a person’s normal functioning – in short, a biological cure for type 1 diabetes. We see great potential in antigen-specific immunotherapies, like SVP, in helping us meet that goal, and have seen tremendous progress since we started our collaboration with Selecta,” said Julia Greenstein, Ph.D., Vice President of Discovery Research at JDRF. “Bringing Sanofi on board is a key milestone towards accelerating the translation of this new class of therapies.”

In June, 2011, JDRF and Selecta announced a research collaboration to support Selecta's development of antigen-specific tolerance products, which contributed to the screening of tolerance inducing immunomodulators and nanoparticles for applications in autoimmune diseases. This work serves as the basis for the new partnership with Sanofi. 

In November, 2012, Sanofi and Selecta announced that they had formed a strategic global collaboration to discover highly targeted, antigen-specific immunotherapies for life-threatening allergies. Under the agreement, Sanofi obtained an exclusive license to develop an immunotherapy designed to abate acute immune responses against a life threatening food allergen and an option to develop two additional candidate immunotherapies for allergies each to a specific food or aeroallergen.