Development of Novel Immunotherapeutics for Opioid Addiction


The Research Need

High rates of relapse and overdose deaths pose significant challenges in the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD). Anti-opioid immunotherapies (i.e., vaccines and monoclonal antibodies) have great potential to reduce long-term opioid use and overdose, with minimal risk of side effects, when used in conjunction with pharmacological treatments and/or behavioral therapies. Immunotherapies that render an opioid less effective, or less rewarding, and thereby protect from accidental overdose could provide an important adjunct therapy for patients undergoing treatment for opioid misuse and addiction. Currently, there are no licensed vaccines or monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of substance use disorders.

About the Program

The objective of the program is to support the pre-clinical development and clinical testing of innovative and safe anti-opioid immunotherapeutics (i.e., vaccines and monoclonal antibodies) for use in the treatment of OUD and overdose.

Program Details

To date, through the Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®, NIH has funded 12 awards and two contracts for this program, totaling $41.4 million.

  • Boston Children’s Hospital – Massachusetts
  • Butler University – Rhode Island
  • Duke University – North Carolina
  • Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute – Minnesota
  • Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine – Maryland
  • Scripps Research Institute – Florida
  • Tulane University – Louisiana
  • University of Chicago – Illinois
  • University of Montana – Montana
  • University of New Mexico Health Science Center – New Mexico
  • University of Texas Medical Branch – Texas

Funded Projects

Development of Vaccines for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder
Sep 29, 2020
Adjuvanted Opioid Vaccine for Treating Fentanyl Use Disorder to Reduce Poisoning and Fatal Overdose
Sep 29, 2020

Closed Funding Opportunities

There are no Closed Funding Opportunities at this time.