Cerberus Capital management invests $105M in PaxVax

Redwood City, CA-based PaxVax currently markets one vaccine, Vivotif, the typhoid vaccine it acquired from Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Crucell in July 2014. But PaxVax could be on the way to adding its cholera candidate, Vaxchora, to the list thanks to a $105 million investment from Cerberus Capital management.

PaxVax CEO Nima Farzan

In addition to acquiring majority economic interest in PaxVax, Cerberus will also see two new additions to PaxVax's board, James Lenehan, a senior adviser to Cerberus and Dean Mitchell.

"This significant investment by Cerberus will allow PaxVax to eliminate debt and allow us to focus on the execution of our business plan such as growing the Vivotif business and launching Vaxchora," said PaxVax CEO Nima Farzan in a statement. These were the goals that Farzan expressed when he took over as CEO earlier this year.

Vaxchora is the furthest candidate along in PaxVax's pipeline, which includes vaccines being developed for hepatitis A, anthrax and HIV. In December 2014, PaxVax announced that Vaxchora had met its primary endpoints in a Phase III trial and that it planned to file a Biologics License Application in mid-2015.

While the company's primary goal is to develop and commercialize the first FDA-approved cholera vaccine for travelers, it recognizes the importance of "social returns," in additional to financial returns, Farzan previously told FierceVaccines. It aims to do this by bringing its products, such as Vaxchora, to those who are most in need.

"Cerberus is pleased to be able to make this investment in PaxVax ... Our investments of capital and operational resources will allow PaxVax to realize the enormous potential of its products without the distractions and limitations of a highly levered capital structure," Lenehan said in the statement.

- here's the release