Meissa Vaccines' future in limbo due to current fundraising climate: CEO

Meissa Vaccines is putting its portfolio on hold and laying off staff due to the current fundraising environment, the company told Fierce Biotech.

While Meissa touts a phase 2/3-ready RSV intranasal candidate for children, the California-based biotech doesn’t have the financial means to launch the clinical study.

“As previously reported, Meissa Vaccines intranasal pediatric live attenuated RSV vaccine candidate demonstrated in a U.S. phase 1c study in RSV seronegative infants and young children that it was highly immunogenic with an outstanding safety profile,” CEO Frank Glavin said in an emailed statement.

The nose spray, dubbed MV-012-968, was studied among RSV-naïve children aged six months to 3 years. All RSV-naïve infants and toddlers demonstrated a vaccine response to the highest dose tested, according to an August 2023 release. Serum-neutralizing antibody responses to MV-012-968 were comparable to the response seen with previous live attenuated RSV vaccine candidates that have demonstrated high efficacy, according to Meissa.

The company had planned to launch the next clinical trial for MV-012-968—which previously received FDA fast track status—this year, according to the August release.

“However, given the current capital raising environment and a review of future funding requirements to advance to a phase 2/3, Meissa has elected to pause further development activities while the company reviews its strategic options,” Glavin told Fierce Biotech.

In light of the halted development activities, Meissa has implemented an undisclosed number of layoffs. When the company was ramping up in 2019, bringing in a $30 million series A that September, the biotech had three full-time employees, with plans to expand up to 10.  

When the pandemic hit, Meissa went to work on a nasal COVID-19 spray. Early clinical data shared in 2021 found that the highest dose of the recombinant live attenuated candidate triggered similar nasal antibody levels to natural immunity. The company continued to study the COVID-19 candidate in a phase 1 clinical trial slated to wrap up by the end of 2022, according to

While the asset is still listed as a part of the biotech’s portfolio on Meissa’s website, final results of the phase 1 study are not available on the company’s page and a subsequent clinical trial was never launched.