Immune Design nabs $32M for vaccine development

Immune Design has banked a $32 million venture round to finance the next stage of its planned developed of new and better vaccines. New investor ProQuest Investments jumped on board to lead the round, with the Column Group, Versant Ventures, and Alta Partners coming back to ante up for the Series B financing. In addition to its adjuvant work the startup is hatching plans to use its immune know-how to develop new therapeutic cancer vaccines.

The Seattle-based biotech was launched under the direction of Steve Reed, the founder of the Infectious Disease Research Institute. In what Reed once described to Xconomy as his "Robin Hood" strategy, Reed has envisioned the development of synthetic adjuvants which could boost the effectiveness of a jab, reducing the number of shots needed to provide protection.

In addition to its adjuvant technology, Immune Designs also is working on a delivery vehicle that's engineered to "target human dendritic cells and express target antigens and immunomodulatory elements to elicit functional and broad based immunity, which is initially being applied in cancer indications of significant unmet need."

Reed has a considerable background in drug development. He co-founded Corixa in 1994, where he served as chief scientific officer. GSK bought Corixa for €233 million in 2005 and Reed went on to found Dharma Therapeutics, a Seattle biotech developing transdermal delivery systems.

- here's the press release for more info