Michigan State University biotech startup Iaso Therapeutics closes $1.25m equity series seed preferred financing

Michigan State University biotech startup Iaso Therapeutics closes $1.25m equity series seed preferred financing

Published: 26-01-2023 13:02:00 | By: Pie Kamau | hits: 244 | Tags:

Iaso Therapeutics, a Michigan State University startup developing novel technologies for next-generation vaccines, closed the first tranche of the company's $1.25 million series seed preferred round of financing.

Proceeds from the funding will be used to advance Iaso's customizable drug delivery and vaccine platform based on bacteriophage mQβ to boost immune system responses against weakly immunogenic antigens.

Participating in the round was the Michigan Rise Pre-Seed III Fund, Red Cedar Ventures Pre-Seed Fund and Michigan-based angel investors. Iaso Therapeutics is also eligible to receive up to $125K in funding from the Michigan Small Business Development Center and Michigan Economic Development Corporation's Emerging Technology Fund, leveraging a successful National Science Found Phase II SBIR grant in March 2022.

Robert Forgey, President and CEO, Iaso Therapeutics: "Iaso Therapeutics has successfully supported the early development of our mQβ vaccine platform with NSF and NIH SBIR grants. This funding will accelerate the development of this technology as we begin our journey."

Based in East Lansing, Michigan, Iaso Therapeutics was founded in 2018 by Dr. Xuefei Huang, Ph.D., utilizing carbohydrate-based vaccine chemistry technology research in partnership with Michigan State University. Iaso Therapeutics hired Forgey as the president and CEO who brings two decades of biotechnology startup experience.

Jeff Wesley, Executive Director, Michigan Rise Pre-Seed III: "It has been rewarding to follow the progress of the Iaso Therapeutics since its early inception at Michigan State University. The company is developing a platform with the potential to create vaccines for both infectious diseases and cancers, but also with the potential to deliver therapeutics to target tissues. In addition, the company, over a short period of time, has amassed strong pre-clinical animal data and can point to initial success in getting vaccines to the clinic as proof of concept."

The mQβ carrier has been conjugated with various molecules, such as small molecules, sugars, peptides, proteins, polysaccharides and glycoproteins. Thus has the potential to be a widely used carrier for both human and animal vaccines.

Don Parfet, Managing Director, Apjohn Group and investor, Iaso Therapeutics: "Iaso Therapeutics' technology has substantial potential to be a new safe and highly efficient vaccine platform. I really like the team and am impressed by the progress that has been made under the support and oversight of Spartan Innovations and MSU Technologies."

The overall increase in infectious and noninfectious diseases, growing population and recent technological advancements in vaccines and enabling technologies create considerable scope for the overall vaccine market. The resurgence of vaccine preventable diseases and the emergence of new pandemics and immunization programs in emerging economies also heavily influence the global vaccine market.

Iaso Therapeutics expects to complete this Series Seed Preferred round of financing later this year.