Prokarium secures $10 million for thermostable vaccine development

Published: 26-Feb-2018

Prokarium, a UK-based synthetic biology company and developer of Vaxonella, an oral, thermostable vaccine delivery platform, announced the completion of a $10 million investment round

Prokarium is aiming to drive the development of thermostable, easily accessible vaccines and immunotherapies in a broad range of disease areas and markets in the coming years.

The new funds will enable the clinical development of groundbreaking vaccines against Chlamydia, Clostridium difficile and enteric fever (typhoid and paratyphoid), as well as the expansion of the team for immuno-oncology research.

The round was led by Riyadh Valley Company (RVC), the venture capital arm of King Saud University. And was followed by Prokarium’s original investor Flerie Invest, a venture capital investor operating from Stockholm, Sweden and Korea Investment Partners (KIP), South Korea’s largest venture capital firm. Riyadh Valley Company (RVC) is the venture capital arm of King Saud University and operates globally out of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Prokarium’s oral, thermostable Vaxonella platform has many technical advantages compared with current injectable vaccines, including the triggering of mucosal and cellular immunity, allowing the tackling of previously difficult-to-prevent diseases.

Vaxonella’s 12-week thermostability at 40⁰C is a game changer for transportation of vaccines to remote locations and improves access to underserved markets such as homes for the elderly.

Prokarium’s development pipeline also includes a vaccine against plague, being taken into a phase I clinical trial under a SBRI contract funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care and managed by Innovate UK, paving the way for new biodefence and epidemic preparedness applications.

Prokarium’s CEO, Dr Ted Fjallman, said: "The vaccine industry and the synthetic biology community in the UK are thriving and our team has worked hard to play a central role in both, winning several prestigious grants and government contracts."

"The new investment by RVC, Flerie and KIP is a clear endorsement of Prokarium’s leadership in developing novel, targeted medicines to prevent serious illnesses. We look forward to generating the clinical data for our current vaccines and working with our investors to find new opportunities to partner our technologies globally."

Dr Khalid Al-Saleh,CEO at RVC, said: "The global vaccine market is worth more than $35bn with a CAGR of 8% or more, yet many countries still do not make full use of the healthcare savings that preventative medicine like vaccines can bring."

"Prokarium’s team have developed a unique technology that can solve many issues with vaccine efficacy and delivery. We believe their expertise in synthetic biology, coupled with the need for easily accessible childhood vaccines in emerging markets and the growing adult vaccine market globally, will allow Prokarium to expand into many new areas in the coming years."

Thomas Eldered, executive director of Flerie Invest, said: "The recent outbreak of pneumonic plague in Madagascar and the fact that there are more than 130 million new cases of Chlamydia every year show us that both old and new diseases can emerge as global health threats at any time."

"Flerie is very glad to be investing alongside RVC and KIP in the further development of Prokarium into a clinical stage company to better address these unmet medical needs in the future."

Sangwoo Lee, executive director of KIP, said: “We are excited about Prokarium’s technology platform and the wide-ranging applications for it. We look forward to working with RVC and Flerie to help the Prokarium team find collaborators in Asia and other parts of the world, so that Prokarium’s innovations can benefit people globally."

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