July 10, 2019

Our newest portfolio company is on a mission to make medical history.  Blue Water Vaccines is working to develop a universal flu vaccine, a single vaccine that would protect against all strains of influenza.  “The holy grail of vaccines,” to quote CincyTech’s Sam Lee, MD, who sits on the company’s board of directors. The need has rarely been more apparent, with the Centers for Disease Control reporting the 2018-2019 flu vaccine was 29% effective overall and just 9% effective in second half of the flu season.
Blue Water Vaccines closed an oversubscribed $7M round of investment, led by CincyTech with participation from CincyTech-affiliated investors.  You can read the news release here. The financing follows a successful preclinical study which offered early validation of the company’s novel approach to vaccine design. The infusion of capital will take the company’s vaccine candidate through the vital next steps, financing an additional preclinical study, followed by a Phase 1 trial targeted for 2020.
Beyond its bold goal, we are excited to support this company for a number of reasons.  One is the pedigree of the research behind its core technology, which comes from the University of Oxford, UK.  The IP is licensed from Oxford University Innovation, the research commercialization arm of the University of Oxford, and the highest university patent filer in the UK.
Blue Water Vaccines founder and CEO Joseph Hernandez is a knowledgeable and seasoned biotech leader, who is committed to building the company in southwest Ohio.  He told the Cincinnati Business Courier,
“I am a strong believer in the Midwest work ethic and tenacity.  I think it’s real. I’ve seen it. That is a big motivator for me.


“We had a lot of interest in the investment outside of CincyTech – in Boston, New York and even across the pond in Europe,” Hernandez said. “We could have housed this company anywhere we wanted to, but we’re committed to Cincinnati and to partnering with CincyTech.”


Read the full news release here.