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Biotechnology / COVID-19 / Funding / Startups

JHU startup PathoVax raises $2.75M, grows team

The company is working toward clinical trials of its HPV vaccine.

PathoVax team members (L to R): Ken Matsui, Pola Olczak, Nattha Ingavat (Patt), Ameya Gokhale, cofounder Joshua Wang, Huimin Tan. (Courtesy photo)

PathoVax, a Johns Hopkins–born startup developing a vaccine for human papillomavirus virus (HPV), raised $2.75 million in new funding, cofounder Joshua Wang said.
The equity funding round was led by United Heath Investments. The life science investment group is led by Dr. Alan Zhu, who is also director of the Baltimore-based Chinese Association for Medical Professionals, which counts 800 physicians as members and seeks to strengthen ties between medical communities in the U.S. and China. Private investors also participated.
The startup is developing RGVax, a vaccine that is designed to protect against all cancer-causing forms of HPV. Vaccines against the are already available, but only protect against some strains of the disease.
Wang and cofounder Weijie Poh began working on the technology while they were PhD students working in the lab of inventor Richard Roden at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
The cofounders are alums of 43North, a Buffalo accelerator. Late last year, the company also received U.S. Small Business Innovation Research grant funding totaling about $2.3 million, Wang said.
“Since then we’ve grown from a 2-person team to six employees and have been focused on pushing the vaccine toward first in human trials,” Wang said.
The startup also recently moved into Johns Hopkins’ FastForward 1812 innovation hub. Along with targeting clinical trials in the first half of 2020, the company is also identifying other applications of the technology.
The equity funding, Wang said, is aimed at “building the business side of the company.” The company is looking to bring on team members who are experienced in areas such as management and manufacturing.

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