CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Affinivax, Inc. (“Affinivax”), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company pioneering the development of a novel class of vaccines with its MAPS™ (Multiple Antigen Presenting System) platform, today announced the closing of a $226 million Series C financing, co-led by new investors Rock Springs Capital and Foresite Capital. Additional new investors included T. Rowe Price, Wellington Management, funds and accounts managed by Blackrock, Cormorant Asset Management, Perceptive Advisors, EcoR1 Capital, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company) and Logos Capital, who were joined by existing investors Viking Global Investors, Bain Capital Life Sciences and Ziff Capital Healthcare Ventures.
“We are very pleased to welcome Rock Springs Capital, Foresite Capital, and this high-quality group of new investors to Affinivax who share our bold and global vision for the company,” said Steven B. Brugger, CEO of Affinivax. “In addition to recognizing what we have already accomplished in advancing our MAPS platform to clinical validation, their strong commitment will support our aim to advance a new class of vaccines to protect children and adults against many challenging and resistant infectious diseases.”
Proceeds from the Series C financing will be used to continue advancing the company’s MAPS vaccine pipeline for a range of infectious diseases, including its lead pneumococcal vaccine candidates and first-in-class vaccine candidates targeting healthcare-associated infections where previous vaccine approaches have not been successful.
Affinivax’s novel and proprietary MAPS technology platform is designed to enable the development of a new class of vaccines that induce a broad and robust protective immune response to two key immunogenic components – disease-relevant polysaccharides and disease-relevant proteins – in a single vaccine. Licensed from Boston Children’s Hospital, MAPS utilizes a patented biotin-rhizavidin binding approach to enable vaccine design and development. Unlike conventional conjugate vaccines, where the protective immune response is based primarily on the polysaccharide component, MAPS vaccines are designed to provide a protective immune response to both the polysaccharide and protein components.
“We are very impressed with the significant progress the Affinivax team has made in advancing its novel MAPS vaccine technology into clinical trials and achieving initial strong validation of its unique potential to create vaccines that induce both B-cell and T-cell protection,” said Kris Jenner, M.D., D. Phil., Founder and Partner at Rock Springs Capital. “We believe MAPS has the potential to represent a significant step forward in vaccine technology and could open up a new era of vaccines to target a broad range of infections, many of which do not have any effective immunization strategies available today.” Concurrent with the closing of the Series C financing, Dr. Jenner has joined Affinivax’s Board of Directors.
“Having spent many years involved in vaccine development early in my career, I am very impressed with the Affinivax team and their platform technology,” said Dorothy Margolskee, M.D., Managing Director of Foresite Capital. “Vaccines developed on their new platform have great potential to provide robust and broad immune responses to important infectious agents. I really look forward to working closely with the team to bring these important vaccine advances to the market.”
About Affinivax, Inc.
Affinivax is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company pioneering the development of a novel class of vaccines designed to induce a broad and robust protective immune response to both disease-relevant polysaccharides and disease-relevant proteins in a single vaccine. Affinivax designs each of its vaccine candidates to optimize the protective immune response to one or both of these antigens utilizing the distinctive plug-and-play nature of its proprietary MAPS™ platform technology, presenting the potential opportunity to make a significant step forward in addressing major healthcare challenges posed by novel and resistant infectious diseases. Affinivax’s lead vaccine candidate, ASP3772, is a Streptococcus pneumoniae vaccine that is being co-developed in collaboration with Astellas Pharma Inc. ASP3772 includes 24 pneumococcal polysaccharides, more than any other vaccine on the market or in clinical trials today, as well as two conserved pneumococcal proteins. ASP3772 was observed to be safe and highly immunogenic in a Phase 1 study in adults aged 18 to 64. A Phase 2 study in adults aged 65 to 85 is now completed with data analyses ongoing. The clinical program targeting the infant pneumococcal indication has been initiated with an ongoing Phase 1 study in healthy toddlers 12 to 15 months of age. Affinivax is also developing a next generation pneumococcal MAPS vaccine candidate to provide even broader protection than ASP3772, with an aim to establish and maintain a new standard-of-care vaccine for the protection against Streptococcus pneumoniae infections in both adults and infants. In addition, Affinivax is developing vaccine candidates against bacterial pathogens where previous vaccine approaches have not been successful, with active programs targeting healthcare-associated infections that primarily impact adults in medical and nursing home facilities, including Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Clostridium difficile, as well as exploratory programs targeting the SARS-CoV-2 virus and melanoma. Affinivax was founded in 2014 with a seed investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and an exclusive license to the MAPS technology from Boston Children’s Hospital. For more information, visit www.affinivax.com.