Imophoron, the developer of a novel, next generation rapid-response vaccine platform, ADDomer(TM), to combat present and future infectious diseases, announces it has secured GBP 4 million in an oversubscribed fundraising round.
The round was co-led by Science Creates Ventures and Octopus Ventures, alongside Jonathan Milner. This investment also included follow-on investment from business angels that participated in the Seed funding round which was completed in January, 2019.
“The recent COVID-19 pandemic has shown the strength in the industry’s ability to generate vaccines within record times. However, there are still considerable improvements to be made with these vaccines in their delivery, efficacy and manufacturing,” said Frederic Garzoni, CEO and co-founder, Imophoron. “It has now been demonstrated how a pandemic can not just threaten lives, but our society and economy as we know it. Imophoron is developing its ADDomer vaccine platform with Disease X capability – the ability to develop a new candidate against a pandemic within 5 weeks – and also against numerous other infectious diseases. Now we have demonstrated this capability, we will build on this promising data to take our first candidates towards the clinic.”
Imophoron has completed its work resulting from the Seed financing. This involved demonstrating Imophoron’s ability to rapidly generate vaccine candidates with its ADDomer platform against a range of different diseases. Imophoron has successfully demonstrated a vaccine generation method suitable for pandemics by generating a COVID vaccine candidate within a 5-week period. This COVID vaccine has been shown in preclinical models to induce strong immune responses against COVID. The vaccine has also demonstrated the potential to not just prevent disease progression in diseases such as COVID, but, critically, to break transmission. In addition, this vaccine can be delivered by a variety of administrative routes, including intranasal, intravenousand intramuscular. This alleviates the need for a professional medic to administer vaccines, which reduces the cost and complexity of pandemic vaccine programs. Finally, Imophoron has devised a cost effective and simple manufacturing strategy and demonstrated a thermostability of its own vaccine candidates, unlike, for instance, the sub-temperature storage of alternative vaccines including those that are mRNA based. Imophoron’s vaccine candidates would therefore allow global distribution with no cold chain whatsoever.
Imophoron will use its funding capital to continue development of itsself-assembling protein sub-units: ADDomers, the core of its platform used to create its vaccines. Imophoron will demonstrate the safety and efficacy, including immune response, in animal models of ADDomer vaccines in three viruses: lead candidate RSV, Chikungunya and COVID-19. This specifically involves: pre-clinical efficacy, immunogenicity and safety packages for regulatory interactions for RSV; manufacturing research batches of material for pre-clinical studies and establishment of cell lines and cell banks. With regard to COVID and Chikungunya, Imophoron will design and select potential candidates, and complete pre-clinical efficacy studies. Finally, Imophoron will design and implement a scale-up manufacturing strategy, and perform all necessary toxicology assays.
The funding development will take its ADDomer portfolio to the pre-IND stage. Imophoron then intends to enter the clinical stage of ADDomer development by means of a Series A fundraising round. In addition, Imophoron will continue to work within grant and government support frameworks.
Sam Olof, General Partner, Science Creates Ventures, said: “There is a vital need for vaccines for a range of diseases globally. The current pandemic has provided a demonstration of how diseases can impact society by affecting not only public health but also impacting global economies, financial markets and changing work practices. Investment in organisations developing vaccines such as Imophoron is vital for the development of vaccine platforms that can quickly produce protection for a range of diseases, and enable the world to prepare itself to better manage the diseases of today and tomorrow.”
Luke Hakes, Partner, Octopus Ventures said: “The last 18 months have taught us all how important vaccines are when responding to infectious diseases. Though we have made incredible strides in the speed of vaccine development and deployment, the need for cold chain storage in particular has created huge logistical challenges. What is exciting about Imophoron is that it helps further accelerate our ability to tackle future outbreaks. Its novel platform not only reduces the time taken for vaccine candidate generation but also drastically improves our ability to deploy and administer these lifesaving treatments, massively reducing the dependence on medical professionals and helping to address the global imbalance in vaccine availability.”