Vaxxas raises $23M to fund needle-free COVID-19 vaccine trial

Vaxxas has secured funding to support clinical development of its needle-free COVID-19 vaccine, stuffing its coffers with $23 million from investors including OneVentures and UniQuest.

The biotech is built around a patch-based delivery technology, HD-MAP, that uses an array of thousands of projections to get vaccines to immune cells below the surface of the skin. Using dry-coating technology, Vaxxas applies vaccines onto the projections under sterile conditions, resulting in a delivery system that could improve immune responses, lower doses, eliminate the cold chain and enable self-administration.

Investors are bankrolling Vaxxas’ attempts to show its technology can live up to that billing. Existing investors OneVentures and UniQuest led the financing with assists from members of Vaxxas’ board, management team and a number of individual backers.

Paul Kelly, M.D., founding partner and head of healthcare at OneVentures, outlined why his Australian venture fund stepped up to provide fresh funding to support Vaxxas’ evolution into a clinical-phase biotech. 

“Our confidence has only been reinforced by Vaxxas’ tremendous progress in building a promising clinical pipeline based on its novel HD-MAP vaccination platform. We believe Vaxxas’ needle-free vaccination technology will dramatically improve the availability, efficacy, and safety of vaccines for a range of serious and prevalent diseases, including COVID-19 and influenza,” Kelly said in a statement.

News of the financing comes weeks after Vaxxas took its COVID-19 candidate into the clinic. The asset combines HexaPro, a SARS-CoV-2 spike protein researchers at University of Texas at Austin modified to make more stable and immunogenic, with the HD-MAP delivery technology.

Vaxxas is studying the prospect in 44 healthy adults who previously received three doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine. The phase 1 study is an early step on a journey Vaxxas sees leading to approval of the candidate in 2025.