ANN ARBOR — NanoBio Corp. Thursday announced a preclinical collaboration with a subsidiary of Merck & Co. Inc. focused on the development of a vaccine for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

The studies will evaluate the combination of Merck’s proprietary RSV antigen with NanoBio’s NanoStat adjuvant technology for use as an intranasal vaccine. As part of the agreement, Merck has the option to negotiate a non-exclusive license to the NanoStat adjuvant for development of a commercial RSV vaccine.   Earlier preclinical studies conducted by NanoBio have demonstrated that a NanoStat adjuvanted RSV vaccine induces robust protective immunity, without eliciting the enhanced respiratory disease that has caused other RSV vaccine candidates to fail.

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Said NanoBio founder and CEO James R. Baker: “RSV remains a major cause of serious lung infections in children and the elderly. We look forward to working together in an effort to advance RSV vaccine research.”

RSV is a highly contagious viral disease and is one of the most common causes of bronchiolitis and pneumonia. It is the number one cause of childhood hospitalization both in the United States and around the world. Nearly all children are infected with the virus at least once by the age of 2-3 years. The disease is particularly dangerous for premature babies, children with other health conditions and the elderly. Many children develop pulmonary disease and/or asthma from RSV that persists throughout adult life making them susceptible to re-infection. Currently, there are no approved vaccines for RSV.

NanoBio is a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing dermatological products, anti-infective treatments and intranasal vaccines derived from its patented NanoStat technology platform.

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The company’s lead product candidates are treatments for herpes labialis, better known as cold sores — licensed to GSK in the United States and Canada) — as well as onychomycosis, better known as nail fungus, cystic fibrosis and a broad platform of intranasal vaccines.

NanoBio’s nanoemulsion-based, intranasal vaccines have elicited robust immune responses in animals vaccinated against seasonal and pandemic influenza, hepatitis B, RSV, HIV, pneumococcus, anthrax, smallpox and other diseases. The company’s technology has demonstrated numerous potential advantages over traditional vaccines, including: the ability to generate robust mucosal, systemic and cellular immunity; antigen-sparing qualities; cross-protection against strains not contained in the vaccine; ability to adjuvant multiple antigen types without inducing inflammation; thermally stabilizing the vaccine; and removing the need for needles.

NanoBio’s lead vaccine candidate, NB-1008, is a seasonal influenza vaccine administered intranasally. In a recently completed Phase 1 clinical study, NB-1008 was well-tolerated and elicited both mucosal and systemic immune responses following a single intranasal vaccination in a study of 199 healthy adults.

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The company’s headquarters and laboratory facilities are located in Ann Arbor.