Updated on 15 March 2013
Dr Mark Kendall, co-founder and director, Vaxxas, Australia (winner of the BioSpectrum Asia Pacific Awards 2013 in the Emerging Company of the Year 2013 category)
Prof Mark Kendall, a scientist at the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology under University of Queensland, came up with the idea of nanopatch technology in 2003. The technology is an alternative to the needle-based drug-delivery systems and enables pain-free and rapid delivery of the vaccine to the abundant immune cell population below the skin surface.
Turning his idea into innovation, he developed this technology for the animal vaccine model. UniQuest led the initial commercialization of the Nanopatch technology prior to the creation of Vaxxas in 2011 and raised A$15 million from a strong group of venture investors, including OneVentures, Brandon Capital, Healthcare Ventures, and the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund.
Projecting confidence on the new vaccine delivery technology, Merck is working with Vaxxas to further evaluate the benefits of the nanopatch and proceed towards clinical development of antigen. The collaboration is intended to evaluate Vaxxas' Nanopatch platform that induces robust immune system activation by targeting vaccine to the immunological cells.
"Nanopatch has tremendous potential to improve the performance of a wide range of existing and new vaccines. Vaxxas plans to work with the world's leading pharmaceutical companies to enable efficient delivery of their vaccines via the nanopatch," says Prof Kendall, now the chief technical officer and director of Vaxxas, Australia.
Vaxxas' business model is to work with vaccine producers and license the Nanopatch technology. "In this way, we believe the technology has the best potential to be broadly used across many different vaccines, reaching and benefiting the largest number of people," he adds. The technology is currently in pre-clinical development and is expected to be ready for use in clinical trials as early as 2015.