Maxing the Vaxxing

Aug 12, 2022

A new startup funding round is maxing the vaxxing…

Iowa-based startup Genvax Technologies just brought in $6.5M to continue advancing its saRNA vaccine production, focused at protecting herds from African swine fever and other emerging animal diseases.

Bringing home the bacon: The funding round was led by United Animal Health, along with Johnsonville Ventures, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Summit Agricultural Group, and Ag Startup Engine.

Short-term goals for Genvax include vaccine approval and mitigating any future disease outbreaks.

But long-term, Genvax hopes to eliminate major animal diseases like ASF or swine influenza variants—all of which can wreak havoc on not just herd health, but farmers’ bottom lines and international food supply chains.

Soundbite: “For ASF, Genvax’s vaccine could be an important tool for eradication efforts and may alleviate any concerns with trading partners abroad. In addition, the financial and public support of multiple stakeholders like United Animal Health and others in the food industry is a huge validation of this technology’s promise.” – Genvax CEO and co-founder, Joel Harris

Person Gene of interest: So how does this technology work? Genvax inserts a “gene of interest” (or a “transgene”), matched to the variant strain, into its proprietary saRNA platform. That cooks up an antibody response—and herd-specific vaccines.

Why it’s important: ASF can cause 100% mortality in pigs, with models showing a U.S. outbreak could be a major hit to the pork industry—to the tune of $50B in losses.

What’s next: According to Genvax, this funding round will help boost its vaccines towards USDA and international regulatory approval.