Vaxart raises $18.4 million for Ebola, norovirus tablet vaccines

Vaxart, Inc., recently raised $18.4 million in additional funding that will allow it to begin Phase 1 clinical trials for tablet vaccines rather than injection vaccines for norovirus and Ebola.

The funding, raised through convertible note financing, also will allow the clinical-stage company to further develop its seasonal influenza tablet vaccine. 

Care Capital, based in Princeton, New Jersey, was the lead investor in the fundraising campaign by the privately held San Francisco company that specializes in oral vaccines.

Vaxart's leadership believes that deleting needles from inoculations will provide many advantages, including self-administration, convenience, reduction of medical waste, rapid production and scalable manufacturing.

“We are expanding the seasonal flu program, and our Ebola tablet vaccine is on schedule to enter the clinic this quarter,” Dr. Wouter Latour, CEO of Vaxart, said. “For both these indications, an oral vaccine administered using a convenient tablet that can be shipped and stored without refrigeration could dramatically increase the effectiveness of large-scale immunization campaigns and reach populations in areas with limited cold-chain infrastructure—an especially critical factor in the region currently affected by Ebola.”

Vazart’s tablet vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and therapeutic herpes simplex 2 treatment are already in the preclinical testing stage.

“We believe that Vaxart’s tablet vaccines have the potential to transform large segments of the vaccine industry such as seasonal influenza, as well as open up new important indications such as norovirus and RSV—all areas where availability of a tablet vaccine will improve patient acceptance and help drive successful vaccination campaigns,” Richard J. Markham, Care Capital partner and Vaxart chairman, said. “For emerging pathogens such as Ebola, Vaxart’s technology and temperature-stable tablets are ideal to mount a rapid response and get the vaccine to those who need it most with unprecedented efficiency, even in difficult conditions. We believe strongly in the Vaxart approach, and we are committed to supporting the company as it progresses.”