By GREGORY ZELLER //
A stellar $20 million investment round has blasted a Long Island biotech into the stratosphere, and a new tax bracket.
Farmingdale-based Codagenix Inc., a 2012 startup launched by Stony Brook University assistant research professor Steffan Mueller and Farmingdale State College biology professor J. Robert Coleman, has closed a $20 million Series B investment round, led by Adjuvant Capital, a New York City/San Francisco venture capital firm focused on life sciences.
Also supported by Euclidean Capital, a private hedge fund operated by billionaire James Simons, and Topspin Consumer Partners, a Mamaroneck-based VC and frequent Codagenix supporter, the round brings the Farmingdale company’s funding to date to a handsome $38 million – and “will allow us to expand and accelerate our synthetic-biology platform development,” according to Coleman.
“Codagenix is thrilled to partner with Adjuvant Capital on this next phase of our growth,” the CEO said, citing “the ultimate goal of making our technology accessible to all who need it.”
The Broad Hollow Bioscience Park resident wields a proprietary software suite that redesigns viruses at the genomic level – essentially “re-coding” virus genes to produce weaker strands, which serve as low-dose vaccines.
Riding a wave of private investments and National Institutes of Health grants, Codagenix has already researched and/or tested vaccines against Zika virus, the dreaded, ever-mutating Influenza A and other human and animal ailments.
With the very successful Series B funding round complete, the biotech will “demonstrate our ability to rationally design new biologics for diseases that continue to burden public health around the world,” Coleman said Monday.
More specifically, the fresh $20 million will support the further clinical development of Codagenix’s live-attenuated Respiratory Syncytial Virus vaccine for the elderly, a “broadly-protective” influenza vaccine and an oncolytic virus therapy for triple negative breast cancer.
The RSV and influenza vaccines will move “closer to the marketplace,” while the oncology program will proceed to Phase I clinical trials, according to Codagenix, which also plans to launch “two new vaccine-development programs targeting neglected public-health challenges.”
It’s a busy and bold agenda – but with a technological ace up its sleeve, Codagenix has “an opportunity to succeed where other immunization attempts have failed,” noted Adjuvant Capital Managing Partner Glenn Rockman.
“Compared to the trial-and-error processes used to develop most live-attenuated vaccines, the software-driven, virus-recoding approach used by Codagenix is exactly the type of next-generation, paradigm-shifting technology we strive to finance at Adjuvant,” Rockman said in a statement.
“Codagenix is poised to solve persistent public-health challenges where existing vaccines have made enormous improvements, but still fall short of desired disease-control objectives,” Rockman added. “We are proud to be supporting the further clinical development of the company’s RSV and influenza programs.”