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Prokarium secures $10m investment for clinical development of revolutionary thermostable vaccines

Story originally posted at  Prokarium are on a tenant on Keele University Science and Innovation Park

Prokarium, the UK-based synthetic biology company that has developed Vaxonella, an oral, thermostable vaccine delivery platform, today announced the completion of a $10 million investment round. The new funds will enable the clinical development of new groundbreaking vaccines against Chlamydia, C.difficile and enteric fever (typhoid and paratyphoid), as well as expansion of the team for R&D in immuno-oncology. The round was led by Riyadh Valley Company, followed by Prokarium’s original investor Flerie Invest as well as Korea Investment Partners.

Riyadh Valley Company (RVC) is the venture capital arm of King Saud University and operates globally out of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Flerie Invest is a venture capital investor operating from Stockholm, Sweden, with investments in Europe, US and the Middle East. Korea Investment Partners (KIP) is South Korea’s largest venture capital firm operating globally from its Seoul headquarters, with other offices in Shanghai, Beijing, and Silicon Valley.

Prokarium’s oral, thermostable Vaxonella platform has many technical advantages over current injectable vaccines, including the triggering of mucosal and cellular immunity, and allows the tackling of hitherto difficult-to-prevent diseases. Furthermore, Vaxonella’s revolutionary 12-week thermostability at 40⁰C is a game changer for transportation of vaccines to remote locations and improves access to underserved markets such as homes for the elderly. Prokarium’s development pipeline also includes a vaccine against plague, being taken into a phase 1 clinical trial under a SBRI contract funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care and managed by Innovate UK from the UK Government, paving the way for new biodefence and epidemic preparedness applications.

Prokarium’s CEO, Dr Ted Fjallman, commented: “The vaccine industry and the synthetic biology community in the UK are thriving and our team has worked hard to play a central role in both, winning several prestigious grants and government contracts. The new investment by RVC, Flerie and KIP is a clear endorsement of Prokarium’s leadership in developing novel, targeted medicines to prevent serious illnesses. We look forward to generating the clinical data for our current vaccines and working with our investors to find new opportunities to partner our technologies globally.”

RVC’s CEO, Dr Khalid Al-Saleh, added: “The global vaccine market is worth over $35 bn with a CAGR of 8% or more, yet many countries still do not make full use of the healthcare savings that preventative medicine like vaccines can bring. Prokarium’s team have developed a unique technology that can solve many issues with vaccine efficacy and delivery. We believe their expertise in synthetic biology, coupled with the need for easily accessible childhood vaccines in emerging markets and the growing adult vaccine market globally, will allow Prokarium to expand into many new areas in the coming years.”

Flerie Invest’s Executive Director, Thomas Eldered, commented: “The recent outbreak of pneumonic plague in Madagascar and the fact that there are over 130 million new cases of Chlamydia every year show us that both old and new diseases can emerge as global health threats at any time. Flerie is very glad to be investing alongside RVC and KIP in the further development of Prokarium into a clinical stage company to better address these unmet medical needs in the future.”

Sangwoo Lee, Executive Director of KIP, further added: “We are excited about Prokarium’s technology platform and the wide-ranging applications for it. We look forward to working with RVC and Flerie to help the Prokarium team find collaborators in Asia and other parts of the world, so that Prokarium’s innovations can benefit people globally.”

Prokarium’s growth will be accelerated by expanding its team including a new Head of immuno-oncology research and a VP of Business Development as well as by partnering with global biopharmaceutical companies to maximise the potential of its products and unique vector technology platform. The company aims to drive the development of thermostable, easily accessible vaccines as well as immunotherapies in a broad range of disease areas and markets in the coming years.