A vaccine developer focused on fighting infectious diseases like HSV-2, Pneumococcus and malaria has just gotten a $30 million vote of confidence from investors.
Genocea Biosciences says its ATLAS platform mimics the human T cell immune response in the laboratory, allowing it to identify and test T cell antigens in less time and with more effectiveness than traditional vaccine discovery methods.
It’s just closed a $30 million series C round that will support continued development of its therapeutic vaccine for Herpes Simplex Virus type 2, which is designed to trigger a response from both the T cell and B cell arms of the immune system. The vaccine is currently in Phase 1/2a clinical trials and should generate preliminary data by the second half of next year, the company said in a news release.
Funds will also support continued preclinical development of a preventive vaccine for all serotypes of Pneumococcal infections, which is on track to begin clinical trials late next year.
Joining in the round were the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and CVF LLC, an affiliate of Henry Crown and Company. Existing investors Polaris Venture Partners, Lux Capital, SR One, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, Skyline Ventures, Cycad Group, Auriga Partners, MP Healthcare Ventures and Morningside also contributed.
This round brings the Cambridge, Massachusetts firm’s total equity financing to $76 million, a good chunk of change for a company that just began clinical trials for its first candidate earlier this year.
In collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Genocea will also use some of the funds to expand its malaria program, with the hope of identifying antigens that could potentially be included in a malaria vaccine.
Genocea was founded in 2006 based on technology developed at Harvard Medical School.