Funds to be used to progress viral vaccine pipeline and to explore applications in cancer immunotherapy
VIENNA, AUSTRIA, November 4, 2013 – Hookipa Biotech AG, a company pioneering a new class of vaccines, today announced that it has raised €20 million ($27.5 million) in a series B equity financing. Existing investors Sofinnova Partners and Forbion Capital Partners led the financing with three new investors, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, Takeda Ventures and BioMedPartners joining the round.
Dr. Katherine Cohen, Chief Executive Officer of Hookipa Biotech said: “We have made very substantial progress in the last two years and are delighted to have the support of a highly experienced syndicate of venture investors. I would like to thank our initial investors for their strong confidence in Hookipa and I look forward to working with our new investors as we enter into the exciting next stage of development.”
Hookipa has developed Vaxwave®, a novel and proprietary viral vector platform with exquisite capacity for the stimulation of antibody and CD8+ T cell immunity. The Company’s lead product candidate based on this platform, HB101, is a vaccine against cytomegalovirus (CMV) that is currently in advanced pre-clinical development and testing. The new investment will be used to progress HB101 into Phase I clinical testing and to further industrialize Vaxwave® technology, both for partnering and for building a robust product pipeline in the area of infectious diseases and cancer.
Hookipa’s Vaxwave® technology exhibits great potential for cancer immunotherapy, since Vaxwave® vectors are not inhibited by anti-vector immunity and can be repeatedly administered for stimulating potent CD8+ T cell responses against tumor targets. The series B financing will thus also be used to explore applications for novel cancer therapies.
Graziano Seghezzi, Partner at Sofinnova Partners, the founding investor of Hookipa Biotech, commented: “Since Sofinnova’s seed investment in early 2011, Hookipa has developed from a scientific concept into an innovative early-stage vaccine company. Dr. Cohen’s decisive leadership has been instrumental in rapidly assembling a team of experienced vaccine specialists that have made great progress with the Vaxwave® technology. The strength and diversification of the investors in this Series B syndicate is testament to the potential of the technology and the abilities of the team. I am looking forward to continuing to work with Dr. Cohen and the board to successfully progress Hookipa through its next phase of growth.”
The Company also welcomes Dr. Frank Kalkbrenner from the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund as a new member of the company’s Supervisory Board and Dr. Yuji Iizawa from Takeda Ventures and Dr. Markus Hosang from BioMedPartners as Observers. “We believe the Vaxwave® technology is a ground-breaking platform with potential not only as a prophylactic and therapeutic vaccine in infectious diseases but also as a potential therapeutic approach in the field of oncology. I am pleased to be joining the board together with two seasoned early stage investors, Forbion and Sofinnova, and look forward to working with the experienced team at Hookipa Biotech” commented Dr. Kalkbrenner.
This financing brings the total equity finance raised by Hookipa to €27.5 million. It announced a series A investment of €7 million in October 2011.