After two rounds of financing, RocketVax AG, Basel, successfully completed a third round of financing at the end of 2022 despite the challenging climate. The lead investor is the Ursimone Wietlisbach Foundation of Urs and Simone Wietlisbach, which acquired 9 percent of the shares of RocketVax. Urs Wietlisbach is one of the three founders of the Partners Group, one of the leading investment companies. Other investors in this third round of financing include family offices and private investors.
The additional financial resources will be used for the further development of RocketVax’s various projects. These primarily include a second-generation vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Such a vaccine is important as the virus continues to cause significant health damage. In Western countries, masks are rarely worn and the statistical excess mortality caused by the virus remains significant. The virus can also trigger various chronic diseases.
Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic, Vice President of RocketVax, states that “Despite the very difficult environment, we have managed to secure reputable investors who have invested significant amounts. We still believe that the RocketVax vaccine is urgently needed, and we are now moving forward with its development with increased momentum.”
RocketVax is developing three live attenuated SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in parallel. The COVID-19 vaccines named RVX-sCPD9 and RVX-OTS are slow-replicating SARS-CoV-2 viruses and RocketVax’s product, the COVID-19 vaccine RVX-13, is based on a genetically modified SARS-CoV-2 virus that cannot replicate. All three vaccines have two outstanding features: they increase the protection of the immune system and lead to the generation not only of spike antibodies, but also of a broad spectrum of other antibodies and T cells. This should provide longer-lasting protection against wild-type viruses and all virus variations (caused by mutations). In addition, the stability of the vaccine at ambient temperatures is good, which allows the protection of populations in Africa, Latin America and other emerging markets and reduces the risk of the emergence of new viral variants.
RocketVax AG is a Swiss biotech start-up based in Basel, founded in 2020 as a subsidiary of Swiss Rockets AG. RocketVax uses technologies developed in-house in molecular biology and chemistry to engineer novel vaccines. Leading experts in immunology and virology in Switzerland have joined forces within the company to address the SARS-CoV-2 virus with a new type of vaccine.
About Swiss Rockets AG:
Founded in 2018, Swiss Rockets AG is implementing a paradigm shift in healthcare. Patients benefit from new therapies developed with innovative and pioneering methods. The Swiss Rockets AG team combines expertise and experience to create innovative medicines focused on cancer and viral diseases.
The founders of Swiss Rockets AG are Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic, Dr. Natasa Cmiljanovic, Manuel Ebner, Dr. Thomas Sander and Dr. Thomas Staehelin. Vladimir Cmiljanovic is the CEO, a medicinal chemist, and entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in cancer drug development. He is the founder of the Swiss biotech companies PIQUR AG and TargImmune AG. With his sister Dr. Natasa Cmiljanovic, the Chief Scientific Officer of Swiss Rockets AG, he has developed cancer drugs at the University of Basel. He has also founded and managed several biotech companies. Manuel Ebner is a Managing Director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Switzerland, and a strategic advisor to Swiss Rockets AG. Dr. Thomas Sander, one of the first employees of Actelion's biotech company, is a scientific advisor to Swiss Rockets AG. Dr. Thomas Staehelin, the co-founder of Swiss Rockets AG, is a member of the Executive Board and Chairman of several shareholder companies and foundations.
Members of the Board of Directors of Swiss Rockets AG are Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic (Chairman), Prof. Dr. Michael N. Hall, a renowned researcher and professor at the Center for Molecular Biosciences at the University of Basel, Dr. Natasa Cmiljanovic, a medicinal chemist and clinical scientist with experience in the development of cancer drugs, Dr. Thomas Ladner, a business lawyer, founder and co-founder of several successful start-ups and the World. Minds Foundation, and André Debrunner, a financial expert and fund manager at Northern Trust Switzerland AG and Christoph Brutschin, former Government Council of the Canton of Basel-Stadt and former Chair of the Canton’s Conference for economic affairs.
About RocketVax AG:
RocketVax has its foundation in the ties between Swiss Rockets AG, a Swiss incubator and accelerator for startups with innovative therapies, and a team of expert scientists from the Universities of Basel and Zurich, the ETH Zurich, the University Hospital Basel, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel, and Gigabases Switzerland AG, a spinoff of ETH Zurich.
RocketVax’s first group of vaccines addresses the SARS-CoV-2 virus and are currently undergoing preclinical testing while preparing for the production of the vaccines for human clinical trials. At RocketVax, proprietary molecular biology technologies are used to develop novel vaccines for infectious diseases like COVID-19, cancer, and auto-immune disorders. Several vaccine candidates in the pipeline are being developed. They include the original live, single-cycle virus vaccine, live-attenuated vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, and a vaccine candidate against cancer.