Friday, February 13th, 2015 - UniQuest

 

 

Vaxxas, a biotechnology start-up company commercialising a novel vaccination technology from The University of Queensland, has moved a step closer to achieving its goal of improving world health, thanks to a capital raising of A$25 million (US$20 million) from new and existing investors.

The company, a start-up of The University of Queensland’s commercialisation company, UniQuest, has secured A$25 million in equity funding led by Australian venture capital firm OneVentures in its series B fundraising to further the Nanopatch™.

The new funds will be used to advance a series of clinical programs and develop a pipeline of new vaccine products for major diseases using Vaxxas’ patented Nanopatch™ platform.  This new round of financing brings the total capital raised by Vaxxas to A$40 million (US$33 million). 

The Nanopatch™ is a vaccine application system that uses microscopic projections instead of the traditional needle and syringe method. The direct delivery to key immune cells just below the outer surface of the skin means the Nanopatch™ avoids the nerve endings that cause pain and can potentially enhance the immune response with a fraction of the dose (as little as one hundredth) typically needed for the needle and syringe method.

The material used to coat the patches provides temperature stability. As a result, the traditional and costly cold distribution chain is unnecessary and vaccines can be administered in parts of the world where cold chain infrastructure is unreliable or non-existent.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Robyn Ward said the significant investment demonstrated the high quality of research coming out of UQ.

“The Nanopatch™ is an excellent example of the practical research UQ experts are tackling,” she said.

“From a concept developed on campus to international testing, the Nanopatch is an inspiring success story of what researchers at UQ are achieving.”

UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss welcomed the funding.

“UniQuest is delighted that Vaxxas has been able to raise funds in a Series B venture financing round from existing and new investors, taking the total capital raised by the start-up company to A$40 million,” he said.

“There is huge potential with this technology, if successful, to improve health world-wide.

“It is already one of UniQuest’s 30-plus Commercialisation Stories and I look forward to seeing the next exciting step in the development of the needle-free vaccination technology.”

Vaxxas was established by UniQuest in August 2011 with the completion of a A$15M (US$12.3 million) Series A equity financing led by OneVentures with co-investors Brandon Capital, the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), and US-based HealthCare Ventures.  In late 2012, the company opened a commercialization office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to expand access to global pharmaceutical partners and complement the Company’s research and development operations based in Queensland, Australia. In order to capitalise on the numerous opportunities to commercialize its proprietary Nanopatch™ platform, Vaxxas is pursuing strategic plans to both license its technology to global pharmaceutical companies as well as advance vaccine candidates on its own. Vaxxas has a collaboration with Merck & Co. Inc. to evaluate, develop and commercialize Vaxxas’ Nanopatch™ vaccine delivery platform for undisclosed vaccine candidates developed by Merck.  In 2014, Vaxxas was selected as World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer based on the potential of the Nanopatch™ platform to improve health on a global scale.  Vaxxas recently secured funding from the World Health Organization to evaluate the Nanopatch™ for polio vaccination.

The Nanopatch™ technology originated from Professor Mark Kendall's research group at the Australian Institute of Bioengineering & Nanotechnology at The University of Queensland. Elimination of the cold chain, lowered vaccine dose and reduction in needle stick injuries will also result in cost savings and should result in greater compliance with vaccination programs.

About UniQuest:

UniQuest is one of Australia’s leading research commercialisation companies. It specialises in global technology transfer and facilitates access for all business sectors to the world class expertise, intellectual property and facilities at The University of Queensland, Australia.

UniQuest has created over 70 companies from its intellectual property portfolio, and since 2000 UniQuest and its start-ups have raised more than $490 million to take university technologies to market. UQ technologies licensed by UniQuest – including UQ’s cervical cancer vaccine technology and image correction technology in magnetic resonance imaging machines – have resulted in combined sales of final products in the order of $10 billion net sales between 2007-2013.

About Vaxxas:

Vaxxas is a privately-held biotechnology company focused on enhancing the performance of existing and next-generation vaccines with its proprietary Nanopatch™ technology platform. Vaxxas’ Nanopatch™ contains an ultra-high density array of projections – invisible to the naked human eye – that are dry-coated with vaccine.  Application of the Nanopatch™ to the skin is pain free and rapidly delivers the vaccine to the abundant immune cell population immediately below the skin surface.  In a wide range of preclinical studies Nanopatch™ delivery of vaccine achieves equivalent protective immunity as the needle and syringe – but with only 1/100th of the dose.  It has also been shown that Vaxxas’ proprietary dry-coating technology can eliminate the need for vaccine refrigeration during storage and transportation – removing the resource burden of maintaining the “cold chain.” Leveraging both the potent immunogenic response and thermostability, Vaxxas is applying its technology to improve the performance of vaccines, with initial applications targeting infectious disease and oncology. The Nanopatch™ technology originated from Professor Mark Kendall's research group at the Australian Institute of Bioengineering & Nanotechnology at The University of Queensland.

Media Contacts:

For UniQuest: Craig Belcher, Senior Director Industry Engagement, +61 7 3365 4037, [email protected]

For UQ: Katie Rowney, Senior Communications Officer, Office of Marketing and Communications, The University of Queensland, +61 7 3365 3439, [email protected]

For Vaxxas: in the United States, Kathryn Morris, The Yates Network, +1 (845) 635-9828, [email protected]; in Australia, Dr Douglas Pretsell,  +61 (0)466 925966, [email protected]; in Europe, Dr Robert Mayer,  +49 (0)89 3090 5189 13, [email protected].

Contact Profile

UniQuest


UniQuest is one of Australia’s leading research commercialisation companies. It specialises in global technology transfer and facilitates access for all business sectors to the world class expertise, intellectual property and facilities at The University of Queensland, Australia.

UniQuest has created over 70 companies from its intellectual property portfolio, and since 2000 UniQuest and its start-ups have raised more than $490 million to take university technologies to market. UQ technologies licensed by UniQuest – including UQ’s cervical cancer vaccine technology and image correction technology in magnetic resonance imaging machines – have resulted in combined sales of final products in the order of $10 billion net sales between 2007-2013.


Dr Craig Belcher
M: 0407637853
W: www.uniquest.com.au

Keywords

health, medical, UniQuest, UQ, vaccine

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