Vaxxas, a clinical-stage biotechnology company commercialising a novel vaccination platform technology, today announced the appointment of Dr. Rochelle Chaiken, as Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Chaiken joins Vaxxas following a 23-year career at Pfizer, bringing extensive experience designing and executing late-stage clinical trials and successfully launching new products in markets.
Reporting to Vaxxas Chief Executive Officer David Hoey, Dr. Chaiken will be a valuable addition to the Vaxxas leadership team as the company advances its proprietary high-density microarray patch (HD-MAP) technology platform through late-stage clinical studies toward commercialisation.
Dr. Chaiken has held a number of senior executive roles at Pfizer, including being Chief Medical Officer for the company’s Biopharmaceutical Group for Emerging Markets for the past five years. In this role, Dr. Chaiken built a high-performing medical affairs organisation with leadership across multiple product categories, including Pfizer’s vaccine assets.
“We are delighted to welcome Rochelle to the Vaxxas team as our Chief Medical Officer. This is a pivotal time for the business as we advance our vaccine patch technology through multiple development programs with respective vaccines and partners,” said David Hoey, Vaxxas CEO. “Dr. Chaiken’s extensive track record as a global senior leader in the biopharmaceutical industry, significant experience managing late-stage clinical trials, and successfully launching new products in markets, will be incredibly valuable to us.”
Vaxxas’ vaccine patch technology platform has shown in Phase I human clinical trials the potential to improve vaccination by being easy to use, offering the potential for self-administration, and being stable at room temperature, reducing the complexities and costs associated with refrigerated storage and distribution.
“I am very pleased to be joining the Vaxxas team as the company builds momentum for its vaccine patch technology platform,” said Dr. Chaiken. “The last several years have shown us that better and more accessible vaccine options are mission-critical for global human health. With Vaxxas’ plans to advance innovative programs using its vaccine patch technology platform, beyond those currently in the clinic, I look forward to applying my experience to support these efforts to change the vaccine paradigm.”
Dr. Chaiken received a BA in Chemistry from the University of Rochester and an MD from SUNY-Downstate. She is a Fellow of Endocrinology/Diabetes & Metabolism at Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, and has been a Clinical Investigator leading Phase II and III trials in Type 2 diabetes and its complications in minority populations.
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Vaxxas is a privately held biotechnology company focused on enhancing the performance of vaccines with its core proprietary technology, the high-density microarray patch (HD-MAP).
Vaxxas’ core technology was initially developed at The University of Queensland (UQ), and the company was established as a start-up in 2011 by UQ’s commercialisation company UniQuest. The company was founded with the completion of an initial equity financing led by OneVentures Innovation Fund I with co-investors Brandon Capital Partners, Brandon BioCatalyst, and US-based HealthCare Ventures, followed by further financing rounds led by OneVentures with The University of Queensland joining the most recent financing.
Vaxxas has six clinical programs underway with various vaccines and partners. Among these programs the Vaxxas HD-MAP is currently being evaluated in Phase I human clinical trials for Covid-19 and seasonal influenza at the University of the Sunshine Coast. In addition, Vaxxas is preparing for clinical evaluation of a pandemic influenza vaccine under contract with the United States Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).
With leading global health organisations investing in the company’s HD-MAP technology and programs, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World Health Organization (WHO) and CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations), Vaxxas is working towards improving access to vaccines in hard-to-reach areas by simplifying vaccine distribution and administration.
About the HD-MAP
The HD-MAP utilises an ultra-high-density array of projections – invisible to the naked human eye – applied to the skin as a patch sitting inside a small applicator device. When applied to the skin, the patch delivers vaccine to the abundant immune cells immediately below the skin surface. Early clinical studies have shown this approach can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of resulting immune responses of vaccines.
Vaxxas uses proprietary dry-coating technology to apply an active and stable vaccine onto the HD-MAP projections. The dry-coating technology offers the potential to eliminate the need for refrigeration of the vaccine patches during storage and transportation – reducing the resource and logistics burden of maintaining the refrigerated “cold chain.” Ease of use of the HD-MAP shown in early clinical studies has been found to potentially enable simplified administration, potentially encompassing lower-skilled or self-administration.
Vaxxas is targeting initial applications for the HD-MEP in infectious diseases and oncology. For more information, visit www.vaxxas.com.
About OneVentures and Brandon BioCatalyst
OneVentures Innovation Fund I and Brandon BioCatalyst are supported by the Australian Government’s Innovation Investment Fund (IIF) program. The IIF is an Australian Government venture capital initiative that provides investment capital and managerial expertise through licensed venture capital fund managers to investee companies. Learn more at www.one-ventures.com and www.brandoncapital.vc.
Caution Vaxxas’ HD-MAP delivered vaccines are under investigation and available only for investigational uses. They are not available anywhere in the world for sale or purchase. As such, Vaxxas makes no claim that the vaccines are reliable, durable, dependable, safe or effective, and makes no claim that it is superior to any other vaccine or vaccine delivery technology.