Go to Top

Albuquerque-Based Startup Agilvax Announces New Affiliation and Funding

Local start-up company Agilvax, Inc., headquartered in Albuquerque and commercializing a virus-like particle (VLP) technology platform developed by UNM researchers Dr. David Peabody and Dr. Bryce Chackerian, announced that it has become a resident company at the Johnson & Johnson Innovation labs at Texas Medical Center (JLABS @ TMC) and has completed a Series A1 financing round.  To read more, see the Agilvax press releases, reprinted below.

Agilvax Establishes Operations at JLABS @ TMC in Houston

May 01, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Agilvax, Inc., a biotechnology company developing novel cancer immunotherapies and vaccines, announced today that it is now a resident company at Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS (JLABS @ TMC) at the renowned Texas Medical Center—the world’s largest cancer center—located in Houston, TX .

Agilvax will utilize JLABS @ TMC facilities to support the development of the company’s lead cancer immunotherapy candidate, AX09, for the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer, as well as additional pipeline programs

Agilvax’s CEO, Dr. Federica Pericle stated, “We are honored and excited to be a resident company at JLABS @ TMC and join the growing biotechnology hub in Houston. Agilvax’s novel immunotherapy technology is a great fit for the Houston ecosystem where ground-breaking cancer research is occurring.”

JLABS @ TMC is a 34,000 square-foot life science innovation center, located in Houston, Texas. The labs provide a flexible environment for start-up companies pursuing new technologies and research platforms to advance medical care. Through a “no strings attached” model, Johnson & Johnson Innovation (JJI) does not take an equity stake in the companies occupying JLABS and the companies are free to develop products – either on their own, or by initiating a separate external partnership with JJI or any other company.

About Agilvax

Agilvax discovers and develops targeted cancer immunotherapies and vaccines with its proprietary virus-like particle (VLP) platform technology. Agilvax’s lead product, AX09, is being developed as an immunotherapy for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) by targeting cancer stem cells. TNBC has a high frequency of cancer stem cells, which play a critical role in the high rates of recurrence and poor outcomes in TNBC as compared with other forms of breast cancer. The company’s pipeline and drug discovery platform are based on VLPs derived from RNA bacteriophage that have been engineered to display antigens in an ordered geometric pattern, which can be utilized to stimulate robust and specific immune responses to both foreign pathogens and self-antigens. The Company was founded in 2011 and has headquarters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and offices in El Paso, Texas.

Agilvax Closes A1 Financing to Expand Pre-IND Studies for AX09 In Triple Negative Breast Cancer

May 15, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Agilvax, Inc., a biotechnology company that develops targeted cancer immunotherapies and vaccines, has completed a Series A1 financing, which complements the Series A round from 2014. Both Series A and A1 were led by Hunt Holdings with a co-investment by Sun Mountain Capital. The funds will be used to expand the pre-IND studies for its lead program AX09 in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). The Company is also evaluating the use of AX09 in combination with other cancer therapeutics, as well as strengthening its immunotherapy platform.

Federica Pericle, PhD, MBA, Agilvax’s CEO remarked, “This funding shows thebelief our investors have in our progress and platform. With this additional funding, we will move AX09 closer to the clinic for TNBC, a truly unmet need in women’s health. We are also excited to continue to build our platform and pipeline.”

TNBC is a histological subtype of breast cancer that is aggressive, with an overall poor prognosis due to a lack of effective treatment options. Chemotherapy remains the primary treatment for TNBC across the different settings: neoadjuvant, adjuvant, and metastatic.

AX09 is a virus-like particle (VLP) that displays a portion of the extracellular domain of the cystine-glutamate antiporter system protein xCT (SLC7A11), which has been found to be overexpressed in cancer stem cells. TNBC is enriched in cancer stem cells, which contributes to the aggressive nature of TNBC. Cancer stem cells have unique biological properties that represent a key cellular reservoir for relapse, metastatic progression and therapeutic resistance. Thus, the development of therapies that eliminate cancer stem cells is paramount to creating a durable response.

About Agilvax

Agilvax discovers and develops targeted cancer immunotherapies and vaccines with its proprietary virus-like particle (VLP) platform technology. Agilvax’s lead product, AX09, is being developed as an immunotherapy for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) by targeting cancer stem cells. TNBC has a high frequency of cancer stem cells, which play a critical role in the high rates of recurrence and poor outcomes in TNBC as compared with other forms of breast cancer. The company’s pipeline and drug discovery platform that is based on VLPs derived from RNA bacteriophage that have been engineered to display antigens in an ordered geometric pattern, which can be utilized to stimulate robust and specific immune responses to both foreign pathogens and self-antigens. The Company was founded in 2011 and has headquarters in Albuquerque, NM, with offices in El Paso, and Houston, TX.