Oxford Spinout Vaccitech Raises $168 Million in Series B Financing Round

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Infectious disease-focused Vaccitech, which partnered with AstraZeneca and Oxford University on the development and manufacturing of that company’s COVID-19 vaccine, raised $168 million in a Series B financing round, which will be used to support development of its own lead candidates in oncology and infectious disease.

Vaccitech Chief Executive Officer Bill Enright said the financing round, which was supported by the likes of Gilead Sciences and Tencent, will enable the company to reach key value inflection points for its lead programs, which include a treatment for chronic hepatitis B virus and prostate cancer drug.

“We now look forward to advancing key programs towards generating proof-of-concept data in indications with the significant need of effective new treatments,” Enright said in a brief statement.

Vaccitech’s proprietary prime-boost platform combines modified simian adenoviral vectors, which are known as ChAdOx1 or ChAdOx2, to prime a targeted immune response with the Modified Vaccinia Ankara virus (MVA) to boost the targeted immune response against cells infected with a virus or tumor cells. As the company notes, Vaccitech’s heterologous prime-boost approach has been demonstrated to drive powerful immune responses, including the leading CD8+ T cell stimulation profile in humans, to date.

Vaccitech, which is a spinout of Oxford University, has three lead programs that are all in Phase I/II studies. The company is assessing VTP-300 in patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. The first patient in the trial was dosed in February.

Another Phase I/II study is testing VTP-200 in patients with persistent, high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Vaccitech’s third Phase I/II program is a clinical study of VTP-850 in combination with a checkpoint inhibitor in patients with prostate cancer. In addition to the HBV, HPV and prostate cancer programs, Vaccitech’s pipeline includes product candidates targeting infectious diseases, such as MERS coronavirus and Herpes Zoster, as well as cancer, including non-small cell lung cancer.

The $168 million Series B financing round includes $43 million in convertible loan notes previously issued by Vaccitech that converted into Series B shares. The round was led by M&G Investment Management with further participation from new investors including Tencent, Gilead Sciences, Monaco Constitutional Reserve Fund, and Future Planet Capital among others. The Series B financing round was also supported by existing investors, including Oxford Sciences Innovation.

“Vaccitech is aiming to address serious global public health challenges in both infectious disease and cancer with their T cell-inducing immunotherapy platform,” Jack Daniels, Chief Investment Officer of M&G plc said in a statement. “We believe their innovative approach, based on foundational research performed at the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford, could provide a solution for many serious diseases.”

Douglas Hansen-Luke, executive chairman of Future Planet Capital, said they made the decision to back the Series B before Vaccitech became involved with the development of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

“The success of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca has increased our confidence in Vaccitech’s immunotherapy platform and our continuing support is signaled by our investment today,” Hansen-Luke said in a statement.

In 2018, Vaccitech raised $27 million in its Series A financing round. The Series A was backed by GV.

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