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Our Investment in Imophoron

20 Oct 2021 By Uzma Choudry

Investment Thesis

  • The global vaccine market stood at $47bn in 2019; this is expected to grow to around $100bn by 2027.
  • The value of the cold-chain logistics market is set to grow to $7.1bn by 2027, to facilitate distribution of vaccines that have to be stored and transported at sub-zero temperatures. 
  • The coronavirus pandemic highlighted shortcomings in both aspects of the vaccine industry; inadequate cold-chain supply lines lead to vaccine spoilage during distribution. Vaccine development, meanwhile, was revealed to be a fickle process, with interest arising only in crisis and dwindling quickly.
  • Imophoron has pioneered a new platform, called the ADDomer™, that facilitates swift development, remains stable at temperatures of up to 55°C, and can be administered intranasally. 
  • ADDomer™ is a superparticle built from a component of the human adenovirus. It’s a revolutionary and disruptive new platform that stands to accelerate vaccine development and approval. 
  • The ADDomer™ platform can be used to develop vaccines that can be formulated for intranasal administration, facilitating over-the-counter vaccine delivery.
  • The team combines decades of experience in the biotech space with significant commercial and startup expertise.
  • While Imophoron is still principally involved in technology development and tech de-risking, we think the combination of experienced team and highly innovative tech makes this one of the most exciting prospects in the space at seed stage.

Who are the pioneers

Professor Imre Berger brings decades of technical expertise, alongside a successful track record as founder of three companies, with one exit to Pfizer under his belt. His co-founder, Frederic Garzoni, is also a highly experienced researcher, and both have previously led R&D facilities with scalability at the heart of their focus. They’ve got outstanding commercial support from two seasoned NEDs. Jackie Turnbull brings over 30 years of experience in business development and licensing, and played an instrumental role in Ziylo’s £800m exit to Novo Nordisk. Chairperson Damian Marron is a trained pharmacologist and cell biologist with a successful track record as a former serial CEO, with extensive experience in early stage therapeutic spin outs.

Science Creates - Imophoron founders
Image: Science Creates

Why us

The coronavirus pandemic served to highlight what most experts already recognised as a pressing need for progress in the vaccine development space. With urbanisation, global warming, and deforestation increasing opportunities for zoonotic pathogen transmission, the potential for further pandemics is already there. The threat of infectious disease to humankind is set to increase, exacerbated by the AMR crisis, (read more about the Action Fund here). Octopus Ventures is perfectly placed to support Imophron as it moves its platform through clinical development. Our team’s expertise in biochemistry, as well as a considerable network of biotech investors across the UK and the US, puts us in a unique position.  We have been following the anti-infectives closely, attending related conferences and publishing thought leadership pieces, to better engage in discussion with experts in the field. As an evergreen fund, we are patient capital, and can afford to give Imophron the time it needs to develop its much-needed and revolutionary new platform, an essential safeguard against future pandemics.

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