Clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Affinivax has secured $226m in Series C financing to advance the development of new vaccines with its multiple antigen presenting system (MAPS) platform.
The company has pooled funds in a financing round co-led by new investors Rock Springs Capital and Foresite Capital.
Other new investors consist of T. Rowe Price, Wellington Management, funds and accounts managed by Blackrock, Cormorant Asset Management, Perceptive Advisors, EcoR1 Capital, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company) and Logos Capital, who were joined by existing investors Viking Global Investors, Bain Capital Life Sciences and Ziff Capital Healthcare Ventures.
Affinivax will use the proceeds from the financing to continue boost its MAPS vaccine pipeline for a range of infectious diseases, including its pneumococcal vaccine candidates and first-in-class vaccine candidates targeting healthcare-associated infections.
The MAPS technology platform has been designed to facilitate the development of a new class of vaccines, which induce an immense and potent protective immune response to two general immunogenic components, including disease-relevant polysaccharides and disease-relevant proteins, in a single vaccine.
The technology, which was licenced from Boston Children’s Hospital, uses a patented biotin-rhizavidin binding approach to facilitate vaccine design and development.
MAPS vaccines have been designed to deliver a protective immune response to both the polysaccharide and protein components compared to conventional conjugate vaccines where the protective immune response is based primarily on the polysaccharide component.
Affinivax CEO Steven Brugger said: “We are very pleased to welcome Rock Springs Capital, Foresite Capital, and this high-quality group of new investors to Affinivax who share our bold and global vision for the company.
“In addition to recognising what we have already accomplished in advancing our MAPS platform to clinical validation, their strong commitment will support our aim to advance a new class of vaccines to protect children and adults against many challenging and resistant infectious diseases.”
In March 2017, Affinivax and Astellas Pharma have signed an exclusive worldwide license agreement to develop and market a vaccine targeting Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus).
ASP3772, the company’s lead vaccine candidate, is a Streptococcus pneumoniae vaccine being co-developed in partnership with Astellas Pharma.
It consists of 24 pneumococcal polysaccharides and was observed to be safe and highly immunogenic in a Phase 1 study in adults aged 18 to 64, said the company.