VAXIMM secures a further CHF7.8m private financing
7 Feb 2011
Swiss biotech firm and Merck KGaA spin-off VAXIMM AG closed a
private financing round totalling CHF7.8 million from new and existing
investors in January.
BB Biotech Ventures and Merck KGaA were joined by new investors
Sunstone Capital, Merck Serono Ventures and BioMedPartners. The
company plans to use the proceeds of the financing to progress its
lead program VXM01 into and through clinical phase I testing.
VXM01 is an investigational oral T-cell vaccine that is designed
to elicit an immune response against vascular endothelium growth
factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2), a well characterized target for anti-angiogenic
intervention. VXM01 targets the tumor vasculature and has shown
anti-tumor activity in a variety of animal studies testing different
tumor types, different experimental setups, and different outcome
measures. The first human clinical trials of the vaccine are
expected to start in 2011. The original work on VXM01 was conducted
at The Scripps Research Institute and the project was in-licensed by
VAXIMM from Merck KGaA in 2008.
Dr. Klaus Breiner, chairman of VAXIMM’s board of directors, and a
Managing Partner at BB BIOTECH VENTURES commented: “We are delighted
that we could attract two experienced, specialized venture capital
firms, Sunstone Capital and BioMedPartners, as new investors in
VAXIMM. The participation of Merck Serono Ventures shows the
continued commitment of Merck and demonstrates the attractiveness
and potential of our lead vaccine candidate VXM01”.
Dr. Heinz Lubenau, General Manager of VAXIMM GmbH, a fully owned
subsidiary of VAXIMM AG in Germany, commented: “The funds will allow
us to test this innovative and promising concept for the first time
in patients suffering from cancer. Moreover, the new investors
including Merck Serono Ventures will bring additional expertise and
networks to VAXIMM.” Dr. Sten Verland, Partner at Sunstone Capital
and Dr. Gerhard Ries, Co-founder and General Partner of
BioMedPartners, are joining VAXIMM’s board of directors.