MinervaX announces funding for Group B Streptococcus vaccine

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

December 15, 2022 -- Danish biotechnology company MinervaX ApS announced the completion of a 72-million-euro ($76.3 million) financing round to advance development of a novel vaccine against Group B Streptococcus (GBS). An equity financing of 22 million euros was co-led by new investors Trill Impact Ventures and Pureos Bioventures and existing investors. The European Investment Bank provided additional funding in a form of a 50-million-euro loan.

MinervaX noted that GBS is responsible for nearly half of all life-threatening infections in newborns. There is currently no approved vaccine. Intravenously delivered prophylactic antibiotics provide incomplete protection and can be expensive and unavailable. The 15% to 25% of women spontaneously colonized with GBS risk transmitting the bacteria to babies in utero, potentially leading to late abortions, premature delivery, or stillbirth. Transmission during birth and/or infancy may result in sepsis, pneumonia, or meningitis, potentially leading to long-term disability or death.

MinervaX's maternal immunization vaccine is a protein-only vaccine based on fusions of highly immunogenic and protective protein domains from selected GBS surface proteins. By contrast, other GBS vaccine candidates are based on traditional capsular polysaccharide conjugate technology. Given the broad distribution of proteins contained in the vaccine on global GBS strains, MinervaX expects its vaccine to protect against virtually 100% of all GBS isolates.

In 2022, MinervaX commenced enrollment of pregnant women in its Phase 2 clinical trial in Denmark, the U.K., and South Africa. This financing enables MinervaX to advance preparation for Phase 3 clinical trials. MinervaX's clinical trial details are available at clinicaltrials.gov under identifiers NCT04596878, NCT05154578, and NCT05005247.

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