Curevo Nets $60M for Adjuvant-Saving Shingles Vaccine


Seattle, Washington-based Curevo Vaccine has secured $60 million in Series A financing.

Curevo, a clinical-stage biotechnology company, is developing safe and highly-effective vaccines to fight infectious diseases such as shingles.

"I’m excited to close this financing and begin working with such a world-class group of investors," said Curevo CEO George Simeon at the time of the announcement. "This round provides Curevo with funding through topline data from our 678-patient Phase 2b trial of CRV-101, our vaccine for shingles." 

Curevo’s vaccine, CRV-101, would prevent shingles in older adults. Shingles is a painful disease caused by the same virus as chickenpox, which goes dormant in the human body after the childhood illness, just waiting for an opportune moment to emerge later in life and cause more illness. This vaccine would diminish or prevent that outcome by preparing the immune system to recognize the virus and immediately produce a response. The need for such a vaccine is urgent because this resurgence of the varicella zoster virus can cause painful and lasting nerve damage in 10% of those who develop shingles.

CRV-101 has the potential to provide an improvement over currently approved vaccines because it appears to provide an optimal immune response while requiring less adjuvant, which means fewer side effects. In a Phase I trial, only 1.3% of patients developed side effects that disrupted daily life. Compare that to the competition, GlaxoSmithKline’s Shingrix®, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported as causing disruptive side-effects in 16.6% of patients.

The investment was led by RA Capital Management, which was joined by Adjuvant Capital. Additional investors included Janus Henderson Investors, EN Investment and founding investor GC Pharma, a South Korean biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development and commercialization of vaccines, protein therapies and therapeutic antibodies.

Mario Barro, Ph.D., RA Capital’s director of innovation, described his hopes for the vaccine as his company takes this next step.

"We are excited for CRV-101’s potential to show favorable tolerability and immunogenicity in its next vaccine development stage," he said.

Charlie Petty, co-founder and principal at Adjuvant Capital, described what drove his firm to invest in this particular vaccine.

"As investors primarily focused on vaccines, we were impressed by Curevo’s encouraging Phase 1 data and unique sub-unit vaccine technology platform," he said. “The opportunity to bring the first non-live varicella (chickenpox) vaccine to the global community with Curevo’s vaccine technology was also a key motivator behind our investment in the company.”

GC Pharma President EC Huh, Ph.D. detailed how the investment aligns with his company’s mission.

"When we founded Curevo with the Mogam Institute for Biomedical Research (MIBR), it was a big step forward in the effort to address unmet needs for more accessible vaccines to prevent shingles in older adults and chickenpox in children," he stated. "We continue our support of Curevo by co-investing in this Series A."

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