The Danish biotech company has been awarded an investment of 3.6 mEUR from the Novo Holdings REPAIR Impact Fund for development of therapies to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
An additional investment of 0.8 mEUR was obtained from SunStone Capital. The funding will be used to help finalize Phase I development of the company’s protein-only GBS vaccine, targeting pregnant women for the prevention of life-threatening infections in newborns.
MinervaX is developing a GBS vaccine for maternal immunization, likely to have superior characteristics compared with other GBS vaccine candidates in development, states the company. The latter are based on traditional capsular polysaccharide (CPS) conjugate technology. By contrast, MinervaX’s vaccine is a protein-only vaccine based on fusions of highly immunogenic and protective protein domains from selected surface proteins of GBS (the Alpha-like protein family). Given the broad distribution of proteins contained in the vaccine on GBS strains globally, it is expected that MinervaX’s vaccine will confer protection against almost 100% of GBS isolates, states the company.
MinervaX has previously reported positive results from an initial Phase I trial completed in 240 healthy adult women with a single component vaccine. The vaccine was demonstrated to have a favorable safety profile, give rise to high levels of long-lasting antibodies, which are capable of killing GBS bacteria and prevent invasion of epithelial and endothelial cell barriers.
The current funding will be used to conduct a short Phase I trial to expand the coverage of the vaccine to close to 100% of all colonizing and invasive strains of GBS, by inclusion of a second vaccine component. In addition, funding will be used for CMC development in preparation of Phase II clinical trials. The clinical trial was initiated in the UK on January 8, 2019.