Genocea Biosciences Closes $23 Million Series A Financing, Names Vaccine Veteran Staph Leavenworth Bakali CEO

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Genocea Biosciences, a vaccine discovery and development company, today announced that it has raised a $23 million Series A financing led by SR One, the corporate venture arm of GlaxoSmithKline [GSK]. New investors Auriga Partners, Cycad Group, and Alexandria Real Estate Equities also participated in the financing and were joined by returning founding investors Lux Capital Management, Polaris Venture Partners and Morningside Ventures.

“Novel prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines are one of the most important unmet needs in global health,” said SR-One Ltd President Russell Greig. “Genocea has a one-of-a-kind technology, strong business model, and outstanding team for developing vaccines against many of the world’s remaining disease targets. SR-One is proud to be part of such a great syndicate and opportunity.”

In conjunction with the Series A financing, Genocea also appointed Executive Director Staph Leavenworth Bakali as its new Chief Executive Officer. Leavenworth Bakali replaces Genocea co-founder Robert Paull, co-founder and Managing General Partner of Lux Capital Management. Paull will remain on Genocea’s Board of Directors.

“I’m thrilled to become Genocea’s CEO,” said Leavenworth Bakali. “As founding CEO, Robert Paull assembled some of the most accomplished people in the vaccine sector and built a solid foundation for the next phase of Genocea’s growth. The grand vision and tireless efforts of our scientific founder Darren Higgins, the Genocea team, and founding investors have positioned Genocea to be a tremendous success.”

Leavenworth Bakali brings 20 years of outstanding industry experience and repeated success. Through various senior operating and leadership positions, he has played a critical role in some of the most successful and leading vaccine companies. Leavenworth Bakali was formerly the Chief Operating Officer of both ID Biomedical, a Vancouver, Canada-based developer of influenza vaccines that was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline for $1.4 billion; and PowderJect Pharmaceuticals, an Oxford, UK-based vaccine developer acquired by GlaxoSmithKline for $930 million. Leavenworth Bakali was also previously the Director of Worldwide Sales and Marketing at Chiron Vaccines and the Director of SmithKline Beecham’s Vaccine Business Unit in France. Leavenworth Bakali is currently a non-executive Director at Vienna, Austria-based Intercell AG [VSE:ICLL]. He holds a Masters in Management from London Business School.

"With the experienced leadership and prior successes of Staph Leavenworth Bakali as well as the support of leading international, U.S. and corporate investors, Genocea is poised to become the next great vaccine company," said Robert Paull.

About Genocea Biosciences:

Genocea Biosciences was founded in 2006 to commercialize key breakthroughs in vaccine discovery and development. The company’s proprietary T cell-directed antigen discovery program represents a broad platform with the potential to generate significant novel vaccines for multiple pathogens with high unmet medical need. Genocea is currently developing vaccines for chlamydia trachomatis (a sexually transmitted disease with an estimated 90 million cases worldwide), streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumonia is the leading killer of children under the age of five worldwide) and other undisclosed targets. In 2008, Genocea was selected as “Best Vaccine Startup” at the World Vaccine Congress and was selected one of the 15 most exciting biotech startup companies by FierceBiotech. Genocea is backed by leading investors including Lux Capital Management, Polaris Venture Partners, Morningside Ventures, SR One, Auriga Partners, Cycad Group and Alexandria Real Estate Equities. Visit for more information.


Genocea Biosciences Rebecca Howe, 617-876-8191

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