RVC is pleased to announce that it has led the investment round B of Prokarium, the UK-based synthetic biology company that developed Vaxonella, an oral, thermostable vaccine delivery platform. The investment will enable Prokarium to further develop its pipeline of vaccines and expand the use of its platform technologies to new areas. The round was led by Riyadh Valley Company, followed by Prokarium’s original investor Flerie Invest as well as Korea Investment Partners VC (KIPVC).
Riyadh Valley Company (RVC) is the venture capital arm of King Saud University. RVC Invests locally and globally out of Riyadh, KSA. Flerie Invest is the venture capital firm of Thomas Eldered, co-founder and CEO of Recipharm AB [Nasdaq OMX. Investments include Empros Pharma, Stockholm, Sweden and Cormorant Pharmaceuticals (exited to Bristol Myers Squibb in 2016). Flerie operates from Stockholm, SE. Korea Investment Partners (KIP) is South Korea’s largest venture capital firm overseeing 27 VC funds with over $1.9 billion of assets under management. Recent investments include Celleron Therapeutics, Oxford, UK, and Eloxx Pharmaceuticals and USA. KIP operates globally from its Seoul headquarters, with other offices in Shanghai, Beijing, and Silicon Valley.
Prokarium’s pipeline of vaccines include vaccines against C.difficile, Enteric Fever (dual typhoid-paratyphoid), and against plague. The latter is being taken into a phase 1 clinical trial under a contract from the UK Government. The new investment will allow clinical development of Prokarium’s other vaccines and also support technology partnering efforts with third parties.Prokarium’s oral, thermostable Vaxonella platform has many advantages over current injectable vaccines, such as the triggering of mucosal and cellular immunity, which allow the tackling of hitherto difficult-to-prevent diseases, and also allows vaccines to reach people in remote locations as well as improves access to underserved markets such as elderly homes. A successful plague phase 1 programme will also pave the way for new biodefence applications.
Prokarium’s CEO, Dr Ted Fjallman, commented: “The Vaccine industry and Synthetic Biology community in the UK is blossoming and our team has worked hard to take a centre-stage position in both, winning several prestigious grants and government contracts. The investment by RVC, Flerie and KIP is a clear endorsement of the fact that Prokarium is at the vanguard of delivering novel, targeted medicines to prevent serious illnesses. We look forward to working with our investors to find new opportunities to apply our technology to unmet medical needs globally.” RVC’s CEO, Dr Khalid Al-Saleh, added: “The global vaccine market is worth over $35 bn with a CAGR of 8% or more, yet many countries still do not make full use of the healthcare savings that preventative medicine like vaccines can bring. Prokarium’s team have developed a unique technology that can solve many issues with vaccine efficacy and delivery. We believe their expertise in synthetic biology, coupled with the need for easily accessible childhood vaccines in emerging markets and the growing adult vaccine market globally, will allow Prokarium to expand into many new areas in the coming years.”
Flerie Invest’s Executive Director, Thomas Eldered, commented: “The recent outbreak of pneumonic plague in Madagascar or the fact that there are over 130 million new cases of Chlamydia every year show us that both old and new diseases can emerge as global health threats at any time. I am very glad to be investing alongside RVC and KIP in the further development of Prokarium into a clinical stage company to better address these unmet medical needs in the future.”Sangwoo Lee, Executive Director of KIP, further added: “We are excited about Prokarium’s technology platform and the wide-ranging applications for it. We look forward to working with RVC and Flerie to help the Prokarium team find collaborators in Asia and other parts of the world, so that Prokarium’s innovations can benefit people globally.”
Prokarium is a privately owned, UK-based biotechnology company with a vision to create targeted oral vaccines and immunotherapies. The company’s proprietary synthetic biology platform Vaxonella® enables thermostable vaccines to be taken orally, and then to be made from inside the body’s own immune cells, triggering all arms of immunity with minimal side effects and at lower costs than injectable vaccines.Prokarium has a dual business model: Development of in-house oral vaccines and out-licensing of its Vaxonella platform. Currently the focus is on preventing Chlamydia, Clostridium difficile, and enteric fever (typhoid and paratyphoid) as well as developing a biodefence vaccine against plague under a UK government contract.
About Flerie Invest
Flerie Invest is the investment vehicle of Thomas Eldered, CEO and co-founder of Recipharm [Nasdaq OMX] and Chairman of Cobra Biologics. Flerie makes investments in the healthcare and biotech arena in the US, UK, and EU. Flerie invests in early-stage companies to build strong IP and competent teams, leveraging its connection with Recipharm and Cobra Biologics to provide expert advice and services for process development and manufacture .
About Korea Investment Partners
Korea Investment Partners (KIP) is South Koreas largest VC firm performing venture debt, mezzanine, middle market, emerging growth, buyouts, start up, early stage, mid venture, late venture, and growth capital investments. It considers investments in venture companies in series A to B. KIP oversees 27 VC funds with over $1.9 billion of assets under management.The firm typically invests in healthcare and biotech, ICT, software, energy, and engineering solutions, including industries related to the fourth industrial revolution, including intelligent software, digital services, and artificial intelligence. The firm considers investments in China, South Korea, and other countries such as the USA, UK, and Germany. It typically invests between KRW 3 billion (USD 2.80 million) and KRW 10 billion (USD 9.34 million) in equity per transaction. KIP was established in 1986 and is based in Seoul, South Korea with additional offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Silicon Valley.