ImmusanT lands $20M for celiac vaccine work

ImmusanT has won a big round of venture capital for its work on a vaccine for celiac disease. Vatera Healthcare Partners is putting up $20 million to help support clinical development of Nexvax2. A Phase II trial of the vaccine will start early next year.

FierceVaccines recently profiled ImmusanT's celiac vaccine in our report on 10 promising therapeutic vaccines. Celiac disease occurs when the body mistakes gluten, a protein naturally present in wheat, barley and rye, as a harmful substance. The immune system attacks the gluten and in the process destroys the intestinal lining. ImmusanT's vaccine is designed to gradually desensitize the immune system to gluten via weekly or monthly injections. Cambridge, MA-based ImmusanT is also working with Inova to develop a companion diagnostic to identify which patients are most likely to respond to the vaccine.

"ImmusanT's Nexvax2 and companion diagnostic address the rapidly growing number of patients diagnosed with celiac disease whose only option is a strict diet that eliminates gluten," said Vatera Managing Director Sundar Kodiyalam in a statement. "At Vatera we seek to invest in therapies that fulfill unmet medical needs and offer a significant clinical benefit to patients. We believe that ImmusanT's technology has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life for celiac disease patients."

- here's ImmusanT's release

Special Report: Nexvax2 - 10 promising therapeutic vaccines