Aimed at Increasing Vaccine Access, Vaxess Raises the First Part of a $3.75M Series A

By Lauren Landry, BostInno

After taking home $25,000 in Harvard Business School’s 2012 New Venture Competition, Vaxess Technologies went on to win another $70,000 from Harvard’s inaugural President’s Challenge. Within a year, the team was securing another $50,000 through Harvard Business School’s alumni business plan competition and, Thursday, have even more news to unveil.

Vaxess has closed the first tranche of a $3.75 million Series A financing, led by Norwich Ventures. Angel investor Jeffrey Walker also participated in the round for an undisclosed amount.

The Boston-based company uses silk-derived proteins to stabilize vaccines without refrigeration, eliminating the need for cold-chain transport. To date, 98 percent of vaccines have to be stored between 35 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit. In low-income, rural areas, however, there isn’t an infrastructure for cold storage, making the task nearly impossible.

That was, before Vaxess.

“The medical community has a long history with silk-based products in patient care,” said Norwich Ventures Aaron Sandoski, who will be joining the company’s board of directors, in a release. “Norwich Ventures is excited to be working with the Vaxess team to dramatically improve the availability of vaccines around the world.”

Vaxess reports they will use this round of funding to “enhance internal product development capabilities, advance silk-stabilized products through preclinical development and continue collaborations with pharmaceutical and global health partners.”

The team’s technology originated in the labs of biomedical engineering professors David Kaplan and Fiorenzo Omenetto. Vaxess’ founding team rallied around the duo’s work in a Commercializing Science class while at Harvard and, four months later, the company was born.

“Vaxess’ proprietary technology offers vaccine manufacturers a unique opportunity to improve product stability, thereby enabling lower distribution costs, increased global access and reduced waste,” said Vaxess CEO Michael Schrader in a release.

After seeing how far Vaxess has come in the last year, only bigger headlines are expected for the year to come.