SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

New financing pumps up SutroVax vaccine plans

SutroVax Inc., a relatively new biopharmaceutical vaccine company, has completed a $22 million Series A financing deal that will allow the Sutro Biopharma spinoff to develop vaccines for infectious disease targets.

“We intend to develop best-in-class vaccines to address an array of high-impact infectious diseases,” SutroVax CEO Grant Pickering said.

Specifically, Pickering said that the South San Francisco-based company initially will focus on conjugate vaccines and will use its exclusive license to Sutro Biopharma's trademarked Xpress CF and Xpress CF+ platforms for cell-free protein synthesis and site-specific conjugation, respectively.

Conjugate vaccines target several leading causes of vaccine-preventable deaths, according to the World Health Organization, and they are most often used to immunize babies and children against certain bacterial infections.
Additionally, conjugate vaccines comprise the largest segment of the vaccine industry with annual sales of roughly $8 billion across multiple licensed indications, including pneumococcus, meningitis and H flu. Despite the industry’s successes, there are a significant number of additional bacterial strains and infectious diseases that have yet to be incorporated into current conjugate vaccines, according to a statement from SutroVax.

“Our platform technology is already industrialized and uniquely enables precise site-specific conjugation and production of protein antigens that are beyond the reach of current technologies,” Pickering, a co-founder of SutroVax, said.

The Series A financing was led by international investment group Abingworth, with participation from Longitude Capital, Roche Venture Fund and CTI Life Sciences Fund. SutroVax will use the funds to advance multiple vaccines in its pipeline through pre-clinical proof of concept, according to a statement released today.

As part of the financing deal, Kurt von Emster has been named interim chairman at SutroVax, with Patrick Enright of Longitude Capital and Tracy Saxton from Roche Venture Fund joining the company’s board of directors. 

Along with Sutro Biopharma, Johnson & Johnson Innovation provided SutroVax with seed financing.