Icosavax, Inc., a Seattle, WA-based company developing vaccines against infectious diseases, launched with $5m in Series A financing.
The round was led by Qiming Venture Partners USA with participation from Adams Street Partners, Sanofi Ventures and NanoDimension, and seed investors.
The proceeds of the financing will be used to advance the company’s first vaccine candidate, IVX-121, for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) for older adults through Phase 1b clinical studies.
Led by Adam Simpson, Chief Executive Officer, Icosavax is developing vaccines against infectious diseases that address important unmet medical needs and reduce healthcare costs. The company was founded on computationally designed virus-like particle technology, exclusively licensed for a variety of infectious disease indications from the Institute for Protein Design at the University of Washington.
The founding leadership team of Icosavax include:
– Adam Simpson is the chief executive officer (CEO). He is also the CEO of PvP Biologics, another spinout from IPD. Previously he served as president and chief operating officer (COO) of Cypher Genomics (sold to Human Longevity), and chief business officer, Meritage Pharma (sold to Shire).
– Doug Holtzman, Ph.D., MPH is the chief scientific officer. Previously, he served as vice president, Discovery, Takeda, and deputy director, Childhood Pneumonia, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to his work in global health he worked in a number of innovative early-stage biotechnology companies, including Millennium Pharmaceuticals (sold to Takeda) and Ironwood.
– Niranjan Kanesa-thasan, M.D., MTMH, FIDSA, FASTMH is the chief medical officer and has contributed to the development of seven licensed vaccines. Previously, he served as the clinical franchise head, GSK Vaccines; chief medical officer, Americas, Novartis Vaccines; and vice president, Medical Affairs and Pharmacovigilance, Acambis (sold to Sanofi Pasteur).
– Charles Richardson, Ph.D. is the senior vice president, Technical Operations. Previously, he served as global head, CMC, Takeda Vaccines; senior vice president, R&D, LigoCyte (sold to Takeda); vice president, Manufacturing, Corixa (sold to GSK); and vice president, Pharma Discovery, RibiImmunoChem (sold to Corixa).
Icosavax’s founding scientists, scientific advisory board (SAB) members, and key advisors are:
– Neil King, Ph.D., is a co-founder of Icosavax, inventor of the computationally designed VLP technology, and chair of the SAB. He is a researcher at the Institute for Protein Design and an assistant professor of biochemistry at the UW School of Medicine.
– David Baker, Ph.D., is a co-founder of Icosavax. He is the director of the Institute for Protein Design, an endowed professor of biochemistry at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator.
– Ralf Clemens, M.D., is a development advisor and SAB member and a leading expert in vaccinology with more than 30 years of experience in global vaccine development at Takeda, Novartis, and GSK. Ralf developed and brought to licensure more than 25 different vaccines and has published extensively on vaccines and public health.
– Christian Mandl, M.D., Ph.D., is a SAB member and has an accomplished academic career in molecular and clinical virology. Previously, he served as global head of Research, Early and Exploratory Clinical Development at Novartis Vaccines, leading more than 300 discovery and clinical researchers in the development of a broad range of viral and bacterial vaccines, adjuvants, and delivery platforms.
– Jean-Paul Prieels, Ph.D., is a SAB member and his career spans from basic research to process and product development. He previously served as a senior vice president of Research and Development at GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals (now GSK Vaccines). He was instrumental in developing several commercially available vaccines, such as rotavirus, human papilloma virus (HPV), pneumococcal conjugates, and others.
– Barney S. Graham, M.D., Ph.D., is a SAB member, and inventor of DS-Cav1, the clinically validated RSV F antigen incorporated into IVX-121. He is an immunologist, virologist, and clinical trials physician. He was one of the founding investigators for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he is now the deputy director and chief of the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory and oversees the advanced development of VRC candidate vaccine products.