Vaxin said today it will acquire Immune Targeting Systems (ITS), in a deal intended to strengthen the buyer’s focus on developing public health and biodefense vaccines.
The price of the all-stock acquisition was not disclosed, though Vaxin disclosed that “in parallel,” it received $16 million in new committed financing from a group of investors in both companies—including Novartis Venture Fund, HealthCap, Truffle Capital and Redmont Capital. The financing increases to $100 million the amount of funding collectively raised by the investors.
The combined company, which will retain the Vaxin name, will have multiple clinical stage assets. These include NasoVAX™, a Phase II-ready seasonal flu program; a hepatitis B therapeutic vaccine, for which the company expects to initiate a Phase I/II clinical study in the first half of 2015.
Vaxin's NasoVAX platform uses needle-free intranasal delivery, with the goal of achieving broad immunity against disease pathogens more rapidly than conventional vaccines.
NasoVAX is one of two Vaxin-developed platforms. The other is Densigen, a T-cell vaccine platform designed to direct the immune response against traditionally difficult vaccine targets, including chronic infections and cancer by directing an individual's unique immune system against multiple pathogen targets rather than just one.
Other clinical-stage assets include AdVAV™, an intranasally administered anthrax vaccine that is set to begin a Phase I clinical study in the first half of 2016 and is the subject of an upcoming publication in Clinical and Vaccine Immunology.
AdVAV is fully funded through a contract with the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), according to Vaxin.
“This deal is truly transformative for Vaxin, and sets us on a new trajectory,” Vaxin president and CEO Bill Enright said in a statement. “We look forward to advancing these innovative programs through clinical development.”
The combined company will also have several preclinical programs, one of them focused on cancer vaccines, and several early-stage animal health vaccines.
Vaxin will retain its headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD, and add ITS’ operations in London—where the acquired company is now headquartered—and Strasbourg, France.
Founded in 2003, ITS develops T-cell vaccines with broad HLA coverage, broad antigen coverage and product stability, using its own fluorocarbon conjugated synthetic peptide platform technology. Vaxin said ITS has demonstrated successful T-cell responses in multiple clinical studies.
Vaxin’s chairman, David J. Drutz, M.D., will retain that position with the combined company. Other members of the combined board will include Enright; Brigadier General (ret.) Klaus Schafer, M.D., M.P.H.; Philip Hodges of Redmont Capital; Florent Gros of Novartis Venture Fund; Philippe Pouletty, M.D., of Truffle Capital; and Mårten Steen, M.D., Ph.D., of HealthCap.
The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, Vaxin said.