Gaithersburg, MD — US-based biotech company VLP Therapeutics, Inc. (VLPT) announced on March 15 that it has raised US$16 million in a Series A funding round from MIYAKO Capital Co., Ltd., Sojitz Corporation, Konishiyasu Co., Ltd. in Japan, and three existing investors in the US (Mr. Robert G. Hisaoka, SK Impact Fund, LLC, and RJ Fund, LLC) for research and development of a cancer treatment vaccine. With this funding, VLPT aims to accelerate the project well underway in the US and move into clinical trials at the earliest date possible.
“I have a high hope for VLP Therapeutics to become a leading company with its innovative platform technologies in the fields of infectious diseases and cancer, deep-rooted with CEO Wataru Akahata’s continuing commitment to virus and vaccine research and extensive experience of clinical trials,” says Dr. Hiroyuki Misawa, director and partner of MIYAKO Capital Co., Ltd. “It is my great pleasure to back up, as a shareholder, a biotech company with such advanced technologies.”
“I am optimistic that the innovative vaccines now being developed at VLP Therapeutics will make a significant contribution to the treatment of cancer, the prevention of malaria and dengue fever, and the fight against new threats such as COVID-19. In turn, I believe this will improve health and well-being for all and advance the development of medicine,” says Masayoshi Fujimoto, president and CEO of Sojitz Corporation. “We, Sojitz Corporation, are very pleased to work with VLPT CEO Wataru Akahata, an ambitious scientist with considerable experience in vaccine R&D, as well as with the members of the research team and the company founders who are well-versed in pharmaceutical development. We will do whatever we can to help VLPT grow going forward.”
“Since its inception over 190 years ago, we, Koshishiyasu, have been devoted to making the world a better place through the sales of industrial chemicals. It is therefore our great honor to invest in the cancer treatment vaccine R&D underway at VLP Therapeutics, which is also combating malaria and Covid-19 with its novel technologies.” says Toshiyuki Konishi, president and CEO of Konishiyasu Co., Ltd. “We are confident that, by financially supporting VLPT, we can contribute to the well-being of society, and they will make further progress in their vaccine R&D efforts.”
# # #
About VLP Therapeutics: VLP Therapeutics, Inc. (VLPT), co-founded in 2013 by Drs. Wataru Akahata, Ryuji Ueno, and Sachiko Kuno, is a Gaithersburg, MD-based biotech company with a mission to address unmet medical needs worldwide and expand the frontiers of vaccine treatment. Led by CEO Akahata VLPT is currently engaged in research and development of a cancer treatment vaccine as well as prophylactic vaccines against malaria, dengue, and novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) using VLPT’s proprietary platform technologies.
About VLP Therapeutics Japan: VLP Therapeutics Japan, LLC (VLPTJ), founded in 2020 by Dr. Wataru Akahata and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of US-based VLP Therapeutics, Inc. VLPTJ is currently engaged in research and development of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine using self-amplifying (replicon) RNA technology proprietary to VLPT, with support from the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED)1. Fujifilm Corporation has agreed to manufacture the vaccine formulations.2
- AMED grant program: “FY2020 Development of Vaccines for the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)(2nd)” | Proposal selected: “Development of COVID-19 vaccine in Japan using self-amplifying RNA technology”
- News release (October 1, 2020): “Fujifilm Concludes a Manufacturing Contract Agreement with VLP Therapeutics, for a COVID-19 Vaccine Formulation“
About Dr. Wataru Akahata: Upon graduation from the University of Tokyo in 1997, Akahata studied at Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies. In 2002 he earned a PhD for his HIV vaccine studies under supervision of professor Hayami Masanori at the Kyoto University Institute for Virus Research. He then started his career at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Vaccine Research Center in the US through 2012. During that time he invented a virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine for chikungunya virus in 2009, on which he published an original article in Nature Medicine with the VLP image featured on the cover in 2010. He eventually won a NIH Director’s Award for his discovery of the vaccine and three other alphavirus vaccines in 2012. In addition to his role as the co-founder and CEO of VLP Therapeutics, Inc. in the US and CEO and chief R&D officer of VLP Therapeutics Japan, LLC, Akahata serves as a visiting professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and specially appointed associate professor at the Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan.
Contact: Yutaka Iijima, Global Communications and IR Manager
Media coverage | Related links
- 17 March 2021 | Montgomery County Update: “Former Montgomery ‘Innovation Center’ Company VLP Therapeutics Raises $16 Million For Cancer Treatment Vaccine Research and Development“