INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- BioCrossroads' Indiana Seed Fund has invested in Bioscience Vaccines, Inc. to accelerate the development of biologic materials, which may boost the effectiveness of a wide range of life-saving vaccines.
Bioscience Vaccines, Inc. is developing and studying a novel technology for the development of vaccine supplements (adjuvants) that will hopefully increase the effectiveness of vaccines against illness caused by infectious diseases and epidemics – a hot topic and active area of investment this past year in the wake of the H1N1 influenza epidemic.
BioCrossroads' Indiana Seed Fund I, Indiana's only targeted life sciences seed stage investment fund, is investing $400,000 to accelerate the company's product development and complete required studies to prepare the product for a Phase I human clinical trial. BioCrossroads' seed investment will also provide funds to begin studies for additional vaccine products for applications in cancer prevention.
Bioscience Vaccines' adjuvant product is based upon Cook Biotech's proprietary extracellular matrix (ECM) technology that has been exclusively licensed to Bioscience Vaccines, Inc. Cook Biotech has developed numerous ECM products cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and used for the repair of soft tissue in more than a million patient procedures. ECM is a complex material that helps the human body repair itself by attracting new cells and facilitating growth and tissue regeneration.
"Cook's ECM technology represents a breakthrough for tissue regeneration. Through continued research, Cook Biotech discovered a special formulation of the ECM technology can be used for other life-saving purposes, such as whole cell vaccines," said David Johnson, President and CEO of BioCrossroads. "Bioscience Vaccines is capturing those opportunities and is off to an impressive start – with real promise as a novel biotech company featuring an outstanding research team, a seasoned leadership team and a strong partnership with the University of Notre Dame."
Bioscience Vaccines, Inc. has data showing that, when used as a vaccine additive (adjuvant), ECM can boost the potency of tetanus vaccine by 10 to 15 times in laboratory models. Bioscience has negotiated an advanced development agreement to be in an early stage clinical trial by the end of this year. Working in collaboration with Dr. Mark Suckow at the University of Notre Dame, the company has also studied ECM as a whole cell vaccine adjuvant to prevent and treat prostate cancer in pre-clinical research. Bioscience Vaccines' ECM adjuvant technology is an important development in the area of infectious disease and cancer vaccine development.
"This major commitment from the Indiana Seed Fund makes it possible for us to move our research and ideas forward," said Paul Hall, President and CEO of Bioscience Vaccines, Inc. "This new funding starts us on the road to realizing great advancements in the prevention and treatment of a wide range of serious diseases, with life-improving and life-saving results."
By 2012, human vaccines are expected to be a $24 billion market, and the veterinary vaccine market accounts for another $4 to $5 billion. One hundred million H1N1 doses were approximated to be given in the U.S. alone in 2009.
Dr. Suckow, a founding scientist of Bioscience Vaccines, Inc. and associate research professor in the department of biological sciences at the University of Notre Dame, sees Bioscience Vaccines as an important opportunity for the ECM technology. "While a pathogen protein approach makes vaccines purer, safer and quicker to produce, it also increases the need for adjuvants to ensure efficacy. We believe that our ECM-based product can be formulated for use with vaccine products already being used for the prevention of specific human diseases. There is also potential for the product to be used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the prevention of animal diseases."
"By having Bioscience Vaccines as an exclusive licensee, they will be able to focus their ECM research and development on the specialized area of vaccines," said Mark Bleyer, President, Cook Biotech and member of Bioscience Vaccines' Board of Directors.
The company is currently in discussions to locate its headquarters at Innovation Park at Notre Dame in South Bend, IN.
BioCrossroads (www.biocrossroads.com) is Indiana's initiative to grow, advance and invest in the life sciences, a public-private collaboration that supports the region's existing research and corporate strengths while encouraging new business development. BioCrossroads provides money and support to life sciences businesses, launches new life sciences enterprises (Indiana Health Information Exchange, Fairbanks Institute for Healthy Communities, BioCrossroadsLINX, and Datalys Center), expands collaboration and partnerships among Indiana's life science institutions, promotes science education and markets Indiana's life sciences industry.
About the Indiana Seed Fund I
The $6 million, return-driven Indiana Seed Fund was launched in June 2005 and is managed by BioCrossroads with funding from BioCrossroads, the Indiana Finance Authority and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. The Seed Fund provides working capital in the range of $50,000-$500,000 to promising Indiana life sciences companies at the preliminary stages of operation.
About Bioscience Vaccines
Bioscience Vaccines Inc. (http://www.biosciencevaccines.com) is a company that is developing a biologic material that may aid in the efficacy of vaccines by spurring an immune response. Their technology is related to Cook Biotech's extracellular matrix technology (ECM), which has been developed into numerous products and used in more than a million patient procedures for the repair of soft tissue. Bioscience Vaccines, Inc., 1400 Cumberland Avenue, West Lafayette, IN 47906