MoVax develops oral vaccines using microalgae

Infectious disease outbreaks pose a major health and economic threat to our society and preventing them is one of the world’s biggest challenges. It requires the availability of effective vaccines that can be produced quickly, at low cost and large scale, and can be easily distributed and applied. MoVax BioPharma (MoVax) has developed a patented technology platform for the production of vaccines that meet all of these requirements.

The vaccines developed by MoVax are oral vaccines. These are the ideal type of vaccine when it comes to administration mode and mucosal immunization. However, for immunogenicity the vaccine must survive the gastrointestinal tract. This can be achieved by bio-encapsulating the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) inside microbial cells. Microalgae are a highly promising delivery platform for oral vaccines, but thus far genetic engineering technologies did not allow the development of microalgae that produce and accumulate APIs at sufficient levels to cause a protective immune response. Our patented technology allows us to overcome this barrier as we can generate microalgae that accumulate API up to 10% of the total cellular protein, substantially more than previously possible.

MoVax will be a service provider for large pharmaceutical companies. Using proprietary technology we will develop and produce microalgae-based oral vaccines containing APIs developed and selected by our customers. Successful development and commercialization will lead to milestone fees, license fees and royalties for MoVax.

MoVax, a spin-out of Wageningen University (WU), combines expertise on genetic engineering of microalgae (technology inventor Christian Südfeld, PhD cum laude from WU), business development (Wim van der Wilden, PhD, serial Biotech entrepreneur), vaccine development (Joyce van Bree, PhD candidate at WU-Virology) and technology transfer (Carla van Heck, TTO at WUR). The team is actively supported by prof. René Wijffels (Bioprocess Engineering chair at WU and specialist in microalgal research).

For the financing of the Proof of Concept (PoC) and the development of the first products for our customers a total investment of €2 Million will be required. It is expected that license fees and royalties will allow us to break even in 2030 and generate substantial profits in the following years.

Christian Südfeld
Joyce van Bree
Wim van der Wilden
Carla van Heck
Startup activities

Venture Challenge Fall 2022

Christian Südfeld