Immune Design Announces $18 Million Series A Financing Company to Focus on Prophylactic and Therapeutic Vaccines for Infectious

Diseases



    SEATTLE, June 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Immune Design, a new generation
 vaccine company built on emerging understanding of the human immune system,
 today announced the closing of an $18 million Series A financing. The
 current round was co-led by Alta Partners, The Column Group and Versant
 Ventures. The Column Group initially incubated the Company.
 
     "We are pleased and fortunate to have such an outstanding syndicate of
 investors joining a world class team of experienced founders and scientific
 leaders at Immune Design," said Steven Reed, Ph.D., Chief Executive
 Officer. "While vaccines and immunotherapeutics represent a growing market
 that is receiving increased interest from pharmaceutical companies, true
 innovation in the field has been stagnant. We are working to leverage
 breakthrough technologies toward developing new and better approaches to
 this area."
 
     Most current vaccines and immunization protocols rely on generic
 stimulation of the immune system -- a limited and inefficient method.
 Immune Design is addressing these limitations with improved adjuvants and
 novel technologies targeting and controlling dendritic cells, which have
 recently been shown to orchestrate how effectively the immune system mounts
 an effective response. This approach could create an entirely new
 generation of prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines for infectious diseases
 and extend the coverage of current vaccines. The company expects to be in
 the clinic within 12 months with vaccines using its best in class molecular
 adjuvants, which will soon be followed by novel vaccines using the
 dendritic cell directed platform.
 
     The Company's founders include Dr. David Baltimore, Nobel Laureate,
 President Emeritus of Cal Tech and one of the world's most prominent
 immunologists; Dr. Steven Reed, founder of the Infectious Disease Research
 Institute (IDRI), founder and former Chief Scientific Officer of Corixa and
 an authority in the areas of infectious diseases and molecular adjuvants;
 and Dr. Larry Corey, Chief of Infectious Diseases at the Fred Hutchison
 Cancer Research Center and a world expert in HIV and Herpes virology as
 well as a leading vaccinologist. Additional founding scientists, Dr. Lili
 Yang of Cal Tech and Dr. Pin Wang of University of Southern California
 bring their new vaccine technologies to Immune Design.
 
     "By targeting dendritic cells, we hope to both improve the response to
 current antigens and tailor the cellular and hormonal response to address
 new disease areas," said Dr. Baltimore. "In addition, our novel adjuvant
 program is generating highly immunogenic adjuvants with improved
 reactogenic properties which will broaden protection across patient
 populations and minimize the amount of antigen required." Dr. Ed Penhoet,
 Partner at Alta Partners and former CEO of Chiron Corporation will serve as
 Board Chairman. Other Board members include Dr. Richard Klausner, Partner
 in The Column Group, former Director of the National Cancer Institute and
 former Executive Director of Global Health at the Bill and Melinda Gates
 Foundation, Dr. Baltimore and Dr. Brian Atwood, Partner at Versant
 Ventures.
 
     "Vaccines generated over $16 billion dollars in sales in 2007.
 Influenza vaccines alone are predicted to reach over $4 billion in sales by
 2012," said Dr. Penhoet. "At Immune Design, we see a unique opportunity to
 develop a platform technology that could be used to efficiently generate
 multiple vaccines to address a wide range of infectious diseases."
 
     Dr. Larry Corey will chair an illustrious Scientific Advisory Board
 that includes Dr. Ralph Steinman, Henry G. Kunkel Professor and Senior
 Physician at Rockefeller University and the discoverer of dendritic cells;
 Dr. Inder Verma, professor in the Laboratory of Genetics and American
 Cancer Society Professor of Molecular Biology at the Salk Institute and a
 leading virologist; Dr. Rafi Ahmed, Emory Vaccine Center Director,
 Professor of Microbiology and Immunology in the Emory University School of
 Medicine and a leading immunologist; Dr. Martin Friede, a vaccine
 specialist with the World Heath Organization and a recognized expert on
 molecular adjuvants and Dr. Bruce Beutler, Professor and Chairman of the
 Department of Genetics at the Scripps Research Institute, whose research
 has focused on infectious disease and immunity.
 
     Immune Design is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.
 
     About Immune Design
 
     Immune Design is a new generation vaccine company built on emerging
 understanding of the human immune system. Immune Design has identified
 improved adjuvants and novel technologies targeting and controlling
 dendritic cells, which have recently been shown to orchestrate how
 effectively the immune system mounts an effective response. Unlike most
 vaccines and immunization protocols that rely on more limited and less
 efficient generic stimulation of the immune system, Immune Design's
 approach could create an entirely new generation of prophylactic and
 therapeutic vaccines for infectious diseases and extend the coverage of
 current vaccines. http://www.immunedesign.com
 
     About Alta Partners
 
     Additional information regarding Alta Partners can be found at
 http://www.altapartners.com
 
     About The Column Group
 
     Additional information regarding TCG can be found at
 http://www.thecolumngroup.net
 
     About Versant Ventures
 
     Additional information regarding Versant Ventures can be found at
 http://www.versantventures.com
 
 
 

SOURCE Immune Design

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