Novartis VC arm backs fledgling universal flu vax

The venture arm of Novartis has joined a group of investors channeling $13.6 million in fresh funds for Immune Targeting Systems, which is hard at work on an experimental universal flu vaccine.

ITS said on Wednesday that the funds would allow researchers to push FP-01 through proof-of-concept studies, with Phase I studies kicking off this year. Its vaccine, one of a number of universal flu vaccines in the clinic, uses nanoparticles to deliver high density antigens to the immune system.

Sweden's HealthCap, Truffle Capital of France and London Technology Fund joined Novartis Venture Fund in the round. Their money brings ITS's Series A round to 13.15 million pounds.

"We believe strongly in the need to enhance T-cell immunity in vaccinology, and we are delighted that ITS is advancing its unique technology and lead program to clinical validation," says Florent Gros, managing director at Novartis Venture Fund.

- here's the press release
- check out the Reuters story