MyLife Technologies, a Leiden-based vaccine and drug delivery startup focusing on ceramic vaccine patches for painless administration through the skin, have raised $4M (approx €3.5M). The investors in the round include Fare Capital, SAL Beheer, informal investors, and other existing shareholders.
FARE Capital invests in the real economy on behalf of institutional investors. The VC firm invests in small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), innovative startups, and scale-ups through long-term financing.
The Dutch company will use the funds to start production of the vaccine patches for clinical studies and invest with partners in demonstration projects against COVID-19, HPV, and vaccine therapy against cancers.
MyLife intends to secure $17.5M (approx €15.2M) in a Series A round in early 2023 for the pilot plant construction and expansion to the US and Asia.
What does MyLife Technologies solve?
MyLife Technologies says that the delivery of vaccines through the skin is many times more efficient than through a standard injection into a muscle.
MyLife Technologies explains, “The top layer of the skin contains special immune cells that can absorb vaccines against viruses and bacteria. These special cells do not normally occur in the muscles. With injections into muscles, additional chemicals, so-called adjuvants, are used to draw those cells to the injection site in order to achieve a sufficient immune response. When delivered via the skin, these adjuvants are generally unnecessary.”
The company is working on the reduction of vaccine doses by a factor of 5 to 20 to achieve the same protection with fewer side effects.
Develops painless ceramic vaccine patches
Founded in 2012, MyLife Technologies is a spin-off of the Dutch University of Twente MESA+ research institute. The company aims to commercialise its innovative ceramic patch (Micro-Needle Array Patch) for the intradermal administration of vaccines and drugs.
Made out of inert ceramic material, the patch contains about a hundred microscopic needles. As per the company’s claims, the patch only penetrates the outer skin layer and never reaches sensitive nerves or blood vessels.
MyLife says the porous structure of the patented ceramic material can hold and deliver up to 50x more vaccine material or drug substances than microneedles made of other materials.
The ceramic patch can be applied like any other patch and can be simply removed and disposed of as normal residual waste after a few minutes.
The solution that MyLife Technologies is currently working on could be used for early containment of potential epidemics/pandemics and offers affordable solutions for vaccinations in middle and low-income countries.
The company is already working with international vaccine companies and is in contact with global NGOs such as PATH, GAVI, CEPI, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Mike de Leeuw, CEO of MyLife, says, “With only the first 5 to 10 grams of active vaccine substance (= the weight of one to two sugar cubes) on our ceramic patches, up to 1 million people could receive the first vaccination within one week… That would have been enough in many countries to contain the first outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2, or to contain the recent outbreaks of Ebola.”
“Our approach to control outbreaks provides the opportunity to protect essential employees and vulnerable people in the event of the next wave of infection with a mutated or a new virus. Then we are not talking about the savings on costs of a syringe or cold chain distribution, but about the survival of vulnerable people and the overall damage of a lock-down,” he added.