AstriVax has received a €2.5 million government grant from the Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) agency that will be used to fuel the company’s vaccine platform, per a 30 May announcement.
VLAIO is a Flemish government agency that seeks to promote entrepreneurship and research through funding and advice. The funding will go towards the further optimisation of AstriVax’s technology and its subsequent study in the clinic. This follows a past €30 million seed capital round that was announced in August 2022. The seed capital round was led by the Belgian venture capital firm V-Bio Ventures and Fund+. The Leuven, Belgium-headquartered company AstriVax will use this funding to bring its yellow fever vaccine into the clinic and develop its jabs for rabies and chronic hepatitis B, based on an August 2022 announcement.
The company is a spin-off of the Belgian university KU Leuven and is cofounded by researchers from the university’s Rega Institute. The company’s platform is based on work done by a consortium led by KU Leuven.
The company’s prophylactic yellow fever vaccine is part of its plasmid-launched live attenuated virus (PLLAV) platform. AstriVax’s vaccines based on this platform are thermostable, which means their properties do not change due to the heat. This would help address some of the challenges that vaccine producers face with cold chain management where products need to be kept at low temperatures, a topic that was widely discussed during the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines. The company’s thermostable technology will eventually allow for the vaccines’ easier distribution across the world, including in warmer, tropical regions, per the company’s August 2022 release.
AstriVax’s yellow fever vaccine remains in a preclinical proof-of-concept stage of development. Additionally, the company is also developing its prophylactic rabies vaccine, which is designed to give dual protection and is also in the preclinical stage. Outside of the prophylactic vaccine pipeline, the company is also researching a potential therapeutic vaccine candidate for chronic hepatitis B. This vaccine is aimed to serve as part of a potential combination therapy and has previously induced specific CD8+ T cells.
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