Backed by Gates, Affinivax Ramps up Velcro-like Vaccine Tech
Friday, October 31, 2014
Prevnar 13 is a vaccine that, as its name suggests, protects against 13 of the most common strains of pneumococcal bacteria, which can cause deadly pneumonia and meningitis infections. There’s just one problem: there are around 90 total strains of pneumococcus that can cause disease. What about the other ones?
A new startup with backing by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation called Affinivax claims it’s created a vaccine to protect against all 90. Now comes the hard part: scaling up, proving it in clinical trials, and making a successful business out of it.
Cambridge, MA-based Affinivax today is emerging from stealth with $4 million in seed cash from the Gates Foundation, which has increased its investments in early-stage biotechs tackling world health problems over the past few years.
The Gates investment includes future payments triggered if Affinivax hits certain predefined development milestones for its vaccine platform.