CN Creative nails $3.1M for electronic inhaler smoking cessation device

CN Creative has secured $3.1 million in new financing to fund final development work for its electronic inhaler nicotine replacement therapy device to help patients quit smoking.

Advent Life Sciences led the Series A financing round for the U.K. company, which will take the Nicadex device through final clinical reviews and then regulatory submissions to the U.K.'s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and, finally, the FDA in the U.S. Plans call for marketing the Nicadex inhaler as a medically supervised device designed to help patients quit smoking as part of a larger smoking cessation program.

Nicadex is a hand-held device. A rechargeable lithium battery powers a vaporizer, which turns a pharmaceutical-grade nicotine solution into vapor, and the patient then inhales it. The company explains that patients who have tested the device say it works similarly to smoking but there is no smoke or carbon monoxide in the vapor. It is similar to an electronic cigarette but differs in that it is being submitted as a regulated product that requires medical supervision to use. It would be the first medically approved electronic inhaler nicotine replacement therapy to help patients quit smoking.

Helping patients quit smoking is a potentially lucrative, but challenging market. CN Creative points out as much in its financing announcement, noting that 20% of adults in the U.K. and U.S. keep smoking even in the face of broad public health education efforts. Apparently two-thirds of smokers say they'd like to quit and nearly 75% say they've tried to stop and couldn't. (Smoking is profoundly addictive, after all.)

Companies are developing new anti-smoking options beyond devices, with mixed results. One--Selecta Biosciences, a 2011 Fierce 15 company--began a Phase I trial in late November of a synthetic nanoparticle vaccine for smoking cessation. The biotech Extab has also generated some promising data using an old Bulgarian drug to help smokers quit.

On the other hand, Nabi Biopharmaceuticals ($NABI) faced a big setback late last fall when its NicVAX smoking cessation vaccine flunked a Phase III trial. Pfizer's ($PFE) anti-smoking drug Chantix has been popular, but it appears in some patients to drastically raise the risk of heart attack or other heart problems. A recent study also suggested that the drug increased the risk of suicidal behavior in some patients, but Pfizer challenged the results.

- here's the release