Biotech start-up granted record funding

One of the largest ever start-up investments this country has ever seen has been given to biotechnology company Vaxxas, to assist it in developing a revolutionary new needle-free vaccine.

The $15 million investment in Vaxxas is led by OneVentures with co-investors Brandon Capital, the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) and US-based HealthCare Ventures.

The funding will enable Professor Mark Kendall of the University of Queensland’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) to further his pioneering research and development of the Nanopatch. The product is designed to deliver thousands of small projections of the vaccine into the abundant immune cells in the skin.

The Nanopatch has the potential to address a number of problems with administering vaccines. The needle-free vaccine offers a solution to needle phobias, needle-stick injuries and cross contamination, and does not require refrigeration, making transport cheaper and easier.

Professor Kendall said the complications from traditional needle vaccines are particularly problematic in the developing world.

“In Africa about half of vaccines aren’t working properly because of a breakdown in the cold chain. The Nanopatch also offers a way to stop needle-stick injuries during vaccination – which again is a particularly important problem in Africa; with a third of vaccines affected by other complications brought about through cross contamination needle-stick injury.”

OneVentures general partner Dr Paul Kelly said the significance of the investment in Nanopatch is its potential global reach and relevance.

“This investment syndicate includes both local and international investors which is a real vote of confidence in the Nanopatch approach and an appreciation of the potential of the technology to revolutionise vaccine delivery worldwide.”

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