Therapy Areas
Icosavax Raises USD 100m in Series B Financing
7 April 2021 - - US-based vaccine developer Icosavax, Inc. has closed a USD 100m series B Financing, led by RA Capital Management and joined by Janus Henderson Investors, Perceptive Advisors, Viking Global Investors, Cormorant Asset Management, Omega Funds, and Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company).

Icosavax's existing investors also participated, including Qiming Venture Partners USA, Adams Street Partners, Sanofi Ventures, and ND Capital. A previously announced funding from Open Philanthropy was included in this round.

In conjunction with the financing, Peter Kolchinsky, Ph.D., founder and Managing Partner of RA Capital Management, will join the company's board of directors.

The proceeds of the financing will support the development of Icosavax's bivalent respiratory syncytial virus and human metapneumovirus vaccine program through initial clinical studies, continued evaluation of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate, and further expansion of the company's pipeline of VLP vaccine candidates focused on protecting older adults from life-threatening respiratory diseases.

The company's RSV vaccine candidate, IVX-121, incorporates a stabilized prefusion F antigen licensed from NIAID/NIH (DS-Cav1; Science 2019).

In a Phase 1 clinical study conducted by NIAID/NIH, DS-Cav1 was shown to induce robust neutralizing antibody titers, higher than titers shown in previous studies with RSV postfusion F vaccine candidates.

Extensive preclinical studies suggest that the VLP display of DS-Cav1 in IVX-121 induces higher and more durable neutralizing antibody titers compared to the DS-Cav1 antigen alone, and presentation of DS-Cav1 on the VLP confers improved stability.

Icosavax plans to advance IVX-121 into clinical studies this year.

Data from the first in human study of IVX-121 in young and older adults will inform and enable the transition to a bivalent RSV/hMPV clinical program.

For COVID-19, Icosavax is advancing a SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain VLP vaccine candidate, IVX-411, into initial clinical studies in 2021.

Preclinical data on IVX-411 and precursor candidates in mice and non-human primates show induction of robust neutralizing antibody titers and protection from viral challenge (Cell 2020, Preprint 2021).

Data from the IVX-411 clinical study will inform potential development paths in the rapidly evolving COVID vaccine landscape.

Naturally occurring VLPs that have been licensed or in development have shown the ability to induce high neutralizing titers in both older and young adults, long duration of protective immunity and the ability to be used as combination vaccines.

VLPs enable multivalent display of antigens in a manner that closely resembles viruses, with an important difference. VLPs contain no genetic material, so they are non-infectious and can provide a safer alternative to live-attenuated or inactivated vaccines.

However, VLPs engineered to display other complex viral antigens have been difficult to successfully manufacture at scale, including for RSV and hMPV.

Icosavax said its vaccine technology solves the problem of designing and manufacturing VLPs displaying complex antigens by utilizing a two-component computationally designed protein structure that self-assembles, without interfering with the critical three-dimensional conformation of the displayed antigens.

The individual protein components are expressed and purified using traditional recombinant protein techniques, and then spontaneously self-assemble into VLPs when mixed together.

The high yield and stability of the protein components generated and assembled with Icosavax's technology suggest that manufacture of these VLP vaccines will be highly scalable.

RA Capital Management is a multi-stage investment manager dedicated to evidence-based investing in public and private healthcare and life science companies developing drugs, medical devices, and diagnostics.
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