The company will use the funding to prepare for a Phase 1 human clinical trial, no doubt hoping that recent publicity surrounding vaccines for the H1N1 influenza virus will help it draw the attention of additional investors.
The funding comes from BioCrossroads, a state-sponsored group that promotes the life sciences industry in Indiana, according to a statement from the organization.
The company is developing what’s known as an adjuvant, a substance added to a vaccine to improve the immune response so that less vaccine is needed to provide protection. The adjuvant is based on “extracellular matrix” technology Bioscience Vaccines licensed from Cook Biotech, a company founded in 1995 that built on research conducted at Purdue University. The technology uses cells derived from pigs’ small intestines to help the human body repair itself by attracting new cells and facilitating tissue regeneration.
Bioscience Vaccines says it has data showing its adjuvant can boost the potency of tetanus vaccine by 10 to 15 times in laboratory models, according to the statement.
The company’s chief science officer, Mark Suckow, directs the University of Notre Dame’s life sciences center. Accordingly, Biosciences Venture is in discussions about moving its headquarters to Notre Dame’s campus in South Bend, Ind.
CEO Paul Hall wasn’t immediately available for comment.
The company sees plenty of market potential for its adjuvant. Biosciences Vaccines said human vaccines are expected to be a $24 billion market in two years, and the veterinary vaccine market will account for another $4 billion to $5 billion.