Company uses proprietary synthetic biology and genetic engineering technologies to design improved vaccines for serious respiratory infections
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif, September 26, 2019 – Meissa Vaccines (“Meissa”), a biotechnology company developing vaccines to prevent viral respiratory infections, announced today that it has closed a $30 million Series A financing with Morningside Ventures. The proceeds of the financing will be used to expand the team, conduct Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials for Meissa’s investigational vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and support a viral vaccine pipeline based on the company’s synthetic biology technology. In conjunction with the financing, Isaac Cheng, M.D. and Stephanie O’Brien of Morningside will join the company’s board of directors.
“We were impressed with Meissa’s vaccine platform and pipeline, especially the RSV vaccine candidate, which has the potential to be uniquely effective for both infants and the elderly, two patient populations that are at high-risk of RSV disease,” said Dr. Cheng. “Investing in Meissa Vaccines aligns with our commitment to social responsibility, as vaccines save lives and are one of the most impactful investments we can make in improving global health.”
RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults. In children younger than 1 year of age, RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia.1 In children under five, RSV causes more than 30 million new acute lower respiratory infections, resulting in more than three million hospital admissions from serious infections around the world.2
“Our team at Meissa is developing a live attenuated RSV vaccine with potential to prevent RSV disease in infants and children globally, and the vaccine may be useful for boosting immunity in the elderly who also suffer from RSV,” said Martin Moore, Ph.D., cofounder, and CEO of Meissa. “We are grateful for the Morningside investment which allows us to expand our capabilities and provides opportunities for advancing novel vaccines in the clinic.”
Meissa’s technology platform leverages synthetic biology and genetic engineering for the rational design of vaccines that solve suboptimal immune responses, vaccine stability, and manufacturing. Meissa’s proprietary technologies of reverse genetics and human codon deoptimization allow for rapid generation of live attenuated vaccine candidates that may be safer yet more immunogenic than the natural pathogens.
About Morningside Ventures
Morningside was founded in 1986, by the Chan family of Hong Kong, to make private equity and venture capital investments. The group is managed by investment professionals who are entrepreneurial, have deep industry knowledge, and are effective in the local environment in which they operate. In addition to its investment activities, Morningside Group is strongly committed to social responsibility. For more information, please visit www.morningside.com/.
About Meissa Vaccines
Meissa is a private biotech company focused on the advancement of vaccines for respiratory viruses. Meissa was founded on proprietary technologies employing reverse genetics for rational design of more effective live attenuated vaccines. The technology is exclusively licensed from Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Dr. Moore, together with Dr. Roderick Tang, a vaccine biotech expert, co-founded Meissa. They are supported by a team with extensive experience in all aspects of vaccine development. Meissa is currently a resident company at the Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS in South San Francisco.