Genocea Biosciences, a clinical-stage company advancing T cell vaccines for infectious diseases, has raised $30 million in new funding.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and CVF, an affiliate of Henry Crown and Company, have handed out the $30 million to the firm, and builds on previous investments from other venture firms and pharma companies, including Polaris Venture Partners and Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation.
With the close of this latest financing round, Genocea has now raised a total of $76 million in equity financing to date, a much needed boost for a firm that lives and dies by its external funding.
Chip Clark, chief executive at Genocea, said: “We have made strong progress in our effort to create a new class of vaccines capable of combating serious infectious diseases that current vaccine discovery technologies cannot address.
“Completion of this financing round is a powerful vote of confidence from the financial community that will enable us to move aggressively to create new vaccines that will improve the health of patients around the world.”
The firm specialises in therapeutic vaccines and its lead candidate, GEN-003, is in early stage trials to see if it can reduce the frequency and severity of clinical outbreaks associated with moderate-to-severe herpes simplex virus type two.
It also has a pre-clinical vaccine candidate, GEN-004, designed to prevent infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. Genocea is in addition looking to expand its malaria programme in collaboration with The Foundation, using Genocea’s own ATLAS platform to profile the immune response of volunteers participating in Foundation-sponsored malaria vaccine trials, to identify antigens for potential inclusion in a protein subunit vaccine.
This is a big part of what The Foundation funds, with its founder Bill and Melinda Gates saying last year they want to help eradicate malaria across the globe.