INCJ, Dainippon Sumitomo Said to Invest in Vaccine Firm

State-backed Innovation Network Corp. of Japan is leading an 845 million yen ($8.3 million) round of investment in Create Vaccine Co., a Japanese developer of tuberculosis inoculations, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Existing investors Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., an Osaka-based drugmaker, and closely-held vaccine supplier Japan BCG Laboratory will also participate in the financing and each take a 33 percent stake, the people said, asking not to be identified before a public announcement.

Proceeds will be used to fund development of a new nasal vaccine for adults, which may require about 100 billion yen of total investment to commercialize over the next decade, one of the people said. Conventional inoculations are effective for infants, while there is no effective vaccine available for adults, Create Vaccine said in a Jan. 27 statement.

INCJ has agreed to invest 283 million yen in Create Vaccine, while Dainippon Sumitomo has committed 281.4 million yen and Japan BCG will spend 280.6 million yen, the people said.

Tuberculosis caused 1.3 million deaths worldwide in 2012, making it the greatest infectious disease killer after HIV, according to the World Health Organization. Create Vaccine is working with Japan’s state-run National Institute of Biomedical Innovation and U.S. nonprofit biotechnology firm Aeras on the development.

Create Vaccine was formed in July by Dainippon Sumitomo and Japan BCG with an initial registered capital of 2.5 million yen. Spokesmen for INCJ, Create Vaccine, Dainippon Sumitomo and Japan BCG declined to comment.

The company plans to develop the vaccine through genetic manipulation of the human parainfluenza virus and conduct clinical trials in South Africa, one of the countries facing an increase in tuberculosis cases, one of the people said.

Japan BCG, the sole supplier of the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin tuberculosis vaccine in the country, has provided more than 2 billion doses of the vaccine worldwide over the past four decades, according to its website.

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