Published: Feb 21, 2020
St. Louis startup aims to more quickly and affordably bring vaccines to market
ST. LOUIS – With coaching from BioGenerator's unique Grants-2-Business program, St. Louis bioscience startup VaxNewMo has earned $3 million in federal grant funding to advance the company’s development of a next-generation vaccine to combat pneumococcus, the most common cause of bloodstream infections, pneumonia, meningitis, and middle ear infections.
VaxNewMo has earned a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant, which is awarded to companies to conduct research and development that can more quickly lead to private sector commercialization. This award further shows the commitment and support of the National Institutes of Health for VaxNewMo’s bioconjugation technology for vaccine development.
“The coaching and technical assistance we received from BioGenerator’s Grants-2-Business program for our Phase II SBIR application proved critical for its success,” said Christian Harding, Ph.D., VaxNewMO CEO and Co-founder.
“We are extremely grateful for the continual support BioGenerator provides to VaxNewMo and look forward to growing St. Louis into a leader in vaccine development against deadly bacteria,” added Mario Feldman, Ph.D., VaxNewMo Co-founder.
Grants-2-Business is part of the suite of offerings from BioGenerator, the investment arm of BioSTL, that works to drive federal grant dollars to St. Louis-based startups to increase commercialization. Generating federal and other non-dilutive grant dollars helps St. Louis-based startups advance their research and development to better position them to be able to attract follow-on investment capital. The BioGenerator program coaches entrepreneurs through technical writing assistance and presenting in front of a mock panel made up of people who have scored federal applications in the past. BioGenerator is the only St. Louis organization working in this space. All support is free of charge.
“This coveted SBIR grant will allow VaxNewMo to advance development of a next-generation, multivalent pneumococcal bioconjugate vaccine that can cover the world’s most frequently-encountered pneumococcal serotypes at a price tag that is affordable for all countries; including, low- and middle-income countries,” said Christian Harding, Ph.D., VaxNewMo CEO. “We will use the Phase II SBIR grant to establish processing capabilities to manufacture the vaccines.”
The new funding also will be used to hire three new scientists for VaxNewMo’s lab inside the BioGenerator Labs at the BioSTL Building. In addition to funding the startup, BioGenerator also is supporting the company’s professional search for business development talent.
“BioGenerator is proud to support Dr. Harding and VaxNewMo’s talented team to help them demonstrate that their technology will work and make a big difference protecting the most vulnerable among us,” said Harry Arader, Director of Entrepreneur Development at BioGenerator and VaxNewMo Business Coach.
VaxNewMo is an early-stage biotechnological company that develops next-generation conjugate vaccines against infectious diseases using its proprietary in vivo conjugating technology. VaxNewMo employs its proprietary conjugating enzyme technology to covalently attach a target bacterial polysaccharide to an acceptor protein all within the lab-safe E. coli bacterium. This approach bypasses the dependency on synthetic chemistry to manufacture conjugate vaccines, streamlining their production. Currently VaxNewMo is developing a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and a Klebsiella pneumoniae conjugate vaccine. VaxNewMo is headquartered in St. Louis.
BioGenerator, the startup arm of BioSTL, produces a sustained pipeline of successful bioscience companies and entrepreneurs in St. Louis by creating, growing and investing in promising new enterprises. Visit www.BioGenerator.org for additional information, and follow us on LinkedIn linkedin.com/company/BioGenerator and Twitter @BioGeneratorSTL.