Origin: MO | Grant Awarded: 2017 | Status: Active

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What is VaxNewMo?

VaxNewMo is dedicated to developing more affordable pneumococcal conjugate vaccines that provide broader protection against more strains of bacteria that cause pneumococcal pneumonia. To do this, we utilize our patented bioconjugation technology, which bypasses the dependency on the synthetic chemistry techniques previously required to manufacture conjugate vaccines. In essence, we have engineered the lab safe bacterium, E. coli, to manufacture pneumococcal conjugate vaccines faster, more reliable, and less expensive than traditional pharmaceutical companies can.

Company Leadership

Christian Harding

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Harding was the lead scientist on the manuscript describing a novel class of conjugating enzymes, which has since become the foundation for VaxNewMo’s in vivo bioconjugation platform. Since 2015, Dr. Harding has led R&D efforts to advance VaxNewMo’s platform technology for use in generating multiple glycoconjugate vaccines, including, vaccines targeting Streptococcus pneumoniae, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Group B Streptococcus. In addition, Dr. Harding has overseen VaxNewMo’s day-to-day operations and fund-raising efforts. Specifically, Dr. Harding has helped VaxNewMo receive three phase I STTR grants and led VaxNewMo to a 2017 Arch Grants Award. Dr. Harding received his Ph.D. in 2015 from The Ohio State University and completed postdoctoral training at Washington University in St. Louis prior to co-founding VaxNewMo in 2016.

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Mario Feldman

CSO & Board Member

Dr. Feldman is widely considered as the founding father of bioconjugate vaccine production. While bacterial glycosylation systems had already been functionally transferred into E. coli, Dr. Feldman was the first to couple bacterial glycosylation machineries with bacterial surface polysaccharide synthesis pathways to create bioconjugate vaccines. Dr. Feldman’s career has focused on investigating bacterial virulence mechanisms and exploiting them for uses and/or as targets for therapeutic purposes. Through the discovery and study of enzymes involved in bacterial protein glycosylation, Dr. Feldman has pioneered a new field known as “bacterial glycoengineering” and has directly been contributed to the application of three separate conjugating enzymes exploited for bioconjugate vaccine production. Dr. Feldman has co-founded two companies: VaxAlta, dedicated to livestock vaccines, and VaxNewMo, dedicated to novel human bioconjugate vaccines. The proficiency of his work and companies is reflected in the more than 70 peer-reviewed publications, six filed patents (one of which has been licensed), and consistent level of funding. Currently, Dr. Feldman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis as well as a founding member of VaxNewMo.

Christine Szymanski

co-founder & Board member

Dr. Szymanski was the first to demonstrate that bacteria are capable of N-glycosylating proteins and is now exploiting these systems to create glycoconjugate vaccines and oral therapeutics through recombinant expression in Escherichia coli. For over two decades, she has been exploring bacterial glycomics, working on food pathogens since the early 1990s, with a particular emphasis on Campylobacter jejuni. She combines her expertise in food safety and animal health with novel therapeutic diagnostic platforms developed during her postdoctoral fellowship at the Naval Medical Research Center vaccine program and the translational advances during her tenure as an Alberta Innovates Technology Futures Scholar at the University of Alberta. Currently, Dr. Szymanski is the AITF iCORE Strategic Chair in Bacterial Glycomics, a Professor of Microbiology at the University of Georgia as well as the Co-Founder and CEO of VaxAlta, a biotech dedicated to generating novel life stock vaccines.

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