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Vaxxas Pty Ltd, a UniQuest start-up established in 2011 to commercialise the NanopatchTM vaccine delivery system based on research from The University of Queensland (UQ), has won the Janssen 2012 AusBiotech Emerging Company Award.

The accolade was announced along with two other Janssen 2012 Industry Excellence Awards at the Ausbiotech national conference in Melbourne last night.

Congratulating the Vaxxas team on another award to add to its impressive list of achievements, UniQuest Managing Director, David Henderson, said this award highlighted the value Australian university-based innovations are contributing to health care around the world.

“This award is the fourth positive milestone in recent months for Vaxxas, which is growing in both reputation and capacity to deliver one of the most globally important advances in vaccine technology this decade,” Mr Henderson said.

“There are very few Australian biotechnology companies which could match the number of significant achievements Vaxxas has logged in just over 12 months, including investment and licensing deals as well as wining the Australian Innovation Challenge and the Best Venture Capital Investment at the 2012 Vaccine Industry Excellence Awards, held at the World Vaccine Congress in Washington, DC.”

Vaxxas’ Nanopatch technology originated from Professor Mark Kendall's research group at the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) within UQ. UniQuest led the initial commercialisation of the Nanopatch technology prior to Vaxxas being formed with a $15 million syndicated investment led by One Ventures with Brandon CapitalHealthcare Ventures, and the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund.

Vaxxas recently appointed an international CEO, David Hoey, as the first step towards establishing operations in Massachusetts, North America, to expand access to global pharmaceutical partners and complement the company's research and development operations based in Queensland.

Earlier this month Vaxxas announced a research collaboration with Merck (MSD). The collaboration will evaluate Vaxxas' proprietary needle free delivery technology that induces robust immune system activation by targeting vaccines to the abundant immunological cells immediately below the surface of the skin. The deal included Vaxxas granting Merck a licence for the technology for commercial use for an undisclosed vaccine candidate.