CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Vaxxas, a biotechnology company commercializing a novel vaccination platform, today announced Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, has exercised its option to utilize Vaxxas’ proprietary High Density Microarray Patch (HD-MAP) platform for a vaccine candidate. Merck also retains an option to license the HD-MAP technology for two additional vaccines.
“We are excited by this latest milestone in our collaboration with Merck, an early adopter of our novel HD-MAP platform,” stated Vaxxas’ Chief Executive Officer, David L. Hoey. “With their strong legacy of vaccine development Merck is a tremendous partner in our efforts to enhance the efficiency, effectiveness, and reach of vaccination.”
Under the collaboration agreement, originally signed in 2012, through the exercise of this option Merck gains exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize an undisclosed vaccine utilizing Vaxxas’ HD-MAP technology. Vaxxas will receive $12 million (A$18 million) in a combination of equity funding and option fees associated with the agreement. In addition, Vaxxas is eligible to receive future option, development, and commercial milestone payments. Merck will fund any requested additional research activities conducted by Vaxxas and is responsible for clinical development.
”We are pleased with the progress seen to date in our collaboration with Vaxxas and look forward to advancing the first candidate towards clinical development,” said Daria Hazuda, Vice President Infectious Diseases and Vaccines Discovery at Merck Research Laboratories and Chief Scientific Officer Merck Exploratory Science Centre.
Vaxxas is a privately held biotechnology company focused on enhancing the performance of existing and next-generation vaccines with its proprietary HD-MAP technology platform, which uses an ultra-high density array of projections – invisible to the naked human eye – applied to the skin to rapidly deliver vaccine to the abundant immune cells immediately below the skin surface. This approach can enhance efficiency and effectiveness of immune response. Vaxxas uses proprietary dry-coating technology that can eliminate or significantly reduce the need for vaccine refrigeration during storage and transportation – easing the resource and logistics burden of maintaining the “cold chain.” Leveraging the potent immunogenic response and thermostability of HD-MAP, Vaxxas is targeting initial applications in infectious disease and oncology.
Vaxxas core technology was developed at the University of Queensland. The company was founded with the completion of an initial equity financing led by OneVentures Innovation Fund I with co-investors Brandon Capital, the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), and US-based HealthCare Ventures, followed by a further financing led by OneVentures. OneVentures Innovation Fund I and the MRCF are supported by the Australian Government’s Innovation Investment Fund (IIF) program. The IIF is an Australian Government venture capital initiative that provides investment capital and managerial expertise through licensed venture capital fund managers to investee companies. Learn more at www.one-ventures.com and www.brandoncapital.com.au.