Gates Foundation jumps into $30M round for Genocea's T cell vaccines

The 2008 Fierce 15 biotech Genocea Biosciences has picked up a key endorsement and a sizeable amount of cash today as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation joined a bevy of venture investors backing a $30 million C round. 

Genocea has been developing a platform on T cell vaccines using technology developed at the Harvard Medical School. The developer has been ramping up a Phase I/IIa study of its lead program--GEN-003--for herpes simplex virus-2. Preliminary data is due in the second half of 2013, says the company, which has now raised an impressive $76 million. The biotech has a slate of preclinical vaccines in the pipeline.

"We are excited about the potential of the partnership with Genocea to further our global health priorities," said Trevor Mundel, president of global health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in a statement. "T cell innovation of this kind presents an intriguing opportunity to advance our global health mission through development of a new class of vaccines."

The Gates Foundation is well known for providing a rich stream of grants to the vaccines industry, but recently has begun making equity investments as well. Its backing of Genocea is being rewarded with a new effort at the biotech focused on malaria.

Polaris Venture Partners, Lux Capital, SR One, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, Skyline Ventures, Cycad Group, Auriga Partners, MP Healthcare Ventures and Morningside all participated in the round.

- here's the press release

Special Report: Genocea Biosciences - 2008 Fierce 15

Editor's Note: This report initially stated that preliminary data for GEN-003 will be out in the second half of this year. The report was corrected to say that preliminary data will be out in the second half of 2013.

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