Vaxxilon named “Science Start-Up of the Year 2016”

November 17, 2016

Under the motto “Building bridges, transcending borders”, 23 start-up companies presented their research projects at the Falling Walls Venture science competition on 8 November in Berlin. The company nominated by Max Planck Innovation, Vaxxilon, emerged as the winner and was proclaimed the “Science Start-Up of the Year 2016” for its development of a carbohydrate-based agent. The new agent should make vaccinations against bacterial infections cheaper in the future and thereby also improve access to vaccines in poorer countries.

Falling Walls is an international conference on pioneering developments in society and science and has been held annually in Berlin since 2009. A highlight of the programme is the Falling Walls Venture science competition. By conferring this prize to Vaxxilon, the jury is recognizing the high innovation and positive social effects of the technology developed by the company. The basis for the technology is a new class of fully synthetic agents created by the group headed by Peter Seeberger at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces. Vaxxilon’s goal is to develop synthetic carbohydrate-based vaccines that are less sensitive to temperature thanks to a new carrier protein. This paves the way for high-quality vaccinations which are more economical to develop, easier to transport and easier to store, as refrigeration is not necessary. This means that more people can be reached and better services provided.

Vaxxilon was founded in 2015 by the Max Planck Society together with the Swiss biotech company Actelion Ltd., the ultimate goal being to advance research and to translate this research into marketable products. For their commercialization, Vaxxilon has acquired the exclusive rights for various pre-clinical vaccine candidates and methods from Max-Planck-Innovation GmbH, the technology transfer company of the Max Planck Society. “We congratulate Vaxxilon on winning the Falling Walls Venture and for being named the ‘Science Start-Up of the Year 2016’. With its carbohydrate-based vaccine candidates, Vaxxilon opens up new possibilities in combating numerous bacterial pathogens and improving medical services for people in developing countries,” says Ulrich Mahr, member of the General Management at Max Planck Innovation. Vaxxilon plans to conduct the first human trials with the new vaccines within the next two years.

Vaxxilon AG specializes in the research, development and marketing of new types of carbohydrate-based vaccines, primarily as protection against bacterial infections. Vaxxilon holds the rights for various pre-clinical vaccine candidates for pathogens for which there are no approved vaccines or for which existing vaccines do not fulfil medical requirements. Vaxxilon was founded in 2015 by Actelion Ltd. and the Max Planck Society. The work of the company is based on the scientific and innovative findings of Professor Peter Seeberger from the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces and Professor Gennaro de Libero from University Hospital Basel.

Falling Walls Venture is an international forum for excellent science-based start-ups, venture capital companies and investors. At the event, 20 leading scientific institutions and venture capital companies each give 5-minute presentations of their best science-based start-ups before a high-calibre international jury and a wide audience.

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