SpyBiotech cashes in on Serum Institute deal, netting $32.5M round for its 'superglue' VLP vaccine tech
Roughly five months after partnering with the Serum Institute of India to develop Covid-19 vaccines, SpyBiotech is ready for its next big thing.
The British biotech pulled in a $32.5 million Series A round last week, funneling the success of its collaboration into a venture-capital raise. SpyBiotech is planning to develop its VLP vaccine platform with the cash, but CEO Sumi Biswas told Endpoints News that could go in any number of directions.
“Our platform is quite wide,” Biswas said. The platform tech “can be attached to lots of different areas and vaccine delivery platforms.”
Spun out of Oxford back in 2017, SpyBiotech launched from research into what they call a “superglue” technology that showed promising results for a malaria vaccine. The company’s platform uses technology derived from the strep family of bacteria, splitting proteins into two parts — termed SpyCatcher and SpyTag. With each part retaining its attractiveness, SpyBiotech can essentially plug and display antigens on vaccine delivery platforms like VLPs.
They got things rolling five months ago with the Serum Institute deal, modeling its Covid-19 shots off of the hepatitis B vaccine by displaying the coronavirus spike protein. It’s an attempt to take advantage of the established safety profile, Biswas said at the time.
But since launching a Phase I/II study of their VLP vaccine, SpyBiotech has seen heavy investor interest that helped lead to the Series A. That will allow Biswas and her team to build out the platform in other areas like oncology.
“The superglue technology is tailor made for plug-and-display of antigens,” Biswas said.
Biswas isn’t looking right now at how long the cash will last the company, she added, and left the door open to another raise sometime in the near future. The other main goal, aside from developing the platform, is to fund development of their lead program outside Covid-19 — human cytomegalovirus, or CMV.
The virus presents asymptomatically to most and is transmitted easily through bodily fluids like saliva, leaving it able to pass down congenitally without many parents aware they’re infected. When it does pass down to children, there are several complications that can occur like childhood hearing loss delays in neurodevelopment.
Right now SpyBiotech is focused on ramping up manufacturing, but Biswas hopes that one day a final product could be implemented like the HPV vaccine. The goal is to induce antibodies which could prevent infection and transmission from mother to baby.
SpyBiotech plans to launch a Phase I trial of that candidate sometime in 2022, Biswas said.
New investor Braavos Investment Advisers led the round, with another new investor Oxford Investment Consultants chipping in. Founding investors Oxford Sciences Innovation and GV also participated, alongside the UK Government’s Future Fund.