Affinivax Inc., a Cambridge, MA-based biotechnology company dedicated to developing novel vaccines, launched with a $4m funding.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made the investment and will make additional committments based on the achievement of future milestones.
The company intends to use the funds to develop its Multiple Antigen Presenting System (MAPS) technology platform and enable the development of novel vaccines to protect children and adults in both the developed and developing worlds, with an initial focus on its lead drug program for Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). MAPS is suited to target many complex diseases, such as those caused by mucosal pathogens, for which both antibodies and T cells play important roles in immune protection. A MAPS vaccine combines protective polysaccharides and proteins in a single vaccine and induces a broad protective immune response.
Led by Steven B. Brugger, President and Chief Executive Officer, Affinivax also announced it has secured an exclusive license from Boston Children’s Hospital to the intellectual property related to the MAPS technology platform, initially developed at Boston Children’s by Richard Malley, M.D., its scientific founder and the Kenneth McIntosh Chair in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Boston Children’s.
The company has also appointed Frances K. Heller to the company’s Board of Directors.