An innovative start-up that has developed a needle-free vaccine delivery product has received $15 million in investment capital to commercialise its work.
The new biotech venture, Vaxxas, landed the investment from a consortium that includes OneVentures, Brandon Capital, the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund and US-based HealthCare Ventures.
The money, one of the largest investments made in Australian biotech, will enable Professor Mark Kendall, who works at the University of Queensland’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, to bring his creation, the Nanopatch, to the market.
The Nanopatch works by administering lots of small doses to immune cells on the skin, rather than using a syringe to hit a muscle, which has few immune cells. The technology should help prevent needle stick injuries, reduce the amount of vaccine needed and negate the need for vaccines to be refrigerated.
Kendall has led research into the Nanopatch for the past eight years. The funding will allow for clinical trials to take place for the next three years.
The Federal Government’s Innovation Investment Fund provided money for Vaxxas to be set up, with UniQuest, which has led commercialisation of the Nanopatch until now, handing over to the new company.
“In Africa about half of vaccines aren’t working properly because of a breakdown in the cold chain,” says Kendall.
“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.”
Dr Paul Kelly, general partner at OneVentures, adds: “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.
“This is a great example of OneVentures’ strategy of identifying game changing Australian technology with global market reach and relevance and putting the resources together to enable that to happen.
“These resources are not just financial but expertise, networks and the experience in building high-growth companies and taking novel technologies through to innovative products.”
“This is akin to the traditional model of venture capital of recycling proven entrepreneurial expertise.”
This article first appeared on SmartCompany.