Gates steps in to vaccine VC with $10M investment

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, long a staunch supporter of vaccines for children, is putting its money where its mouth is with a $10 million investment in Liquidia Technologies. Xconomy notes the Gates Foundation has granted funding to vaccine developers for many years, but this is the first deal in which it's taken an equity stake and acted like a venture capital firm rather than charitable foundation. In addition, the foundation will take a seat on Liquidia's board; however, it will act as a non-voting member, choosing instead to observe and offer suggestions when necessary.

Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based Liquidia's PRINT technology allows it to control the particle size, shape and chemistry in a highly consistent and scalable manufacturing process. Liquidia's technology could be applied to vaccines for malaria; the company already has a collaborative agreement with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative in place.

"We are delighted the Gates Foundation has decided to join an outstanding group of investors that share our confidence in the potential of PRINT technology to improve vaccine delivery and effectiveness," said Liquidia CEO Neal Fowler. "As the field of vaccines continues to grow, success will be defined by our ability to produce and deliver highly efficacious therapies in quantities and costs that will support the global demand." The company's other investors include Canaan Partners, New Enterprise Associates, PPD, Morningside Venture Investments Limited, Pappas Ventures and Firelake Capital; all the firms participated in Liquidia's $25 million Series C round.

- read the Liquidia release
- and here's the story from Xconomy