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Genvax Technologies Secures $6.5 Million to Advance saRNA Platform to Rapidly Deploy Candidate Vaccines against New and Emerging Livestock Diseases

Genvax Technologies Secures $6.5 Million to Advance saRNA Platform to Rapidly Deploy Candidate Vaccines against New and Emerging Livestock Diseases

Genvax Technologies Secures $6.5 Million to Advance saRNA Platform to Rapidly Deploy Candidate Vaccines against New and Emerging Livestock Diseases

United Animal Health, Johnsonville Ventures, and the Iowa Corn Growers Association commit support to Genvax’s paradigm shift in vaccine response to foreign animal diseases.

Ames, IA, August 9, 2022 - Genvax Technologies, a startup dedicated to bringing

advances in self-amplifying mRNA (saRNA) vaccine production to animal health,

announced today it has secured $6.5 million in series seed funding. This funding moves

the company toward USDA and international regulatory approval of its vaccines in

anticipation of any foreign animal disease outbreak in order to increase health and

profitability in livestock production.

The company's proprietary saRNA platform allows for rapid development of herd or

flock-specific vaccines matched 100% to the variant strain circulating in an

animal-production operation. By inserting a specific transgene or “gene of interest”

(GOI) matched to the variant strain into the platform, the saRNA can generate an

antibody response without requiring the whole pathogen.

“The threat posed to producers and consumers by foreign animal diseases like African

Swine Fever (ASF) and constantly mutating variants of swine influenza is extraordinary,”

said Joel Harris, CEO and co-founder of Genvax Technologies. “The goal is to develop

a vaccine that matches 100 percent to the specific strain when a disease outbreak

occurs. For ASF, Genvax’s vaccine could be an important tool for eradication efforts and

may alleviate any concerns with trading partners abroad. In addition, the financial and

public support of multiple stakeholders like United Animal Health and others in the food

industry is a huge validation of this technology's promise.”


In April 2022, Genvax announced it had received more than $145,000 in grant funding

from the USDA-Agricultural Research Services Plum Island Animal Disease Center

(USDA-ARS-PIADC) and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) to

develop a saRNA vaccine for African Swine Fever virus. ASF can cause up to 100%

mortality in pigs and could decimate the income of U.S. pork producers and force

layoffs, significantly reducing rural employment. Economic models estimate the worst

case scenario of an ASF outbreak in the US would result in a $50 billion loss to the

domestic pig industry.

United Animal Health led the financing with participation from Johnsonville Ventures,

Iowa Corn Growers Association, Summit Agricultural Group, and Ag Startup Engine.

This investor coalition represents animal health, nutrition, feed, meat packers, and

consumer products in the fight against existing and emerging threats to the food supply


“United Animal Health sees Genvax and self-amplifying mRNA vaccines as the cutting

edge of technology to protect the industries we serve,” said Scott Holmstrom, Ph.D.,

Senior Vice President, Research and Development of United Animal Health. “These

technologies are critical to food security and protein availability. We are excited to be

offering our innovation and research farms to work carefully with Genvax in developing

these future products.”

“We’ve been impressed with Joel Harris and the Genvax team, in addition to the novel

technology they are developing,” said Kevin Ladwig, Managing Director of Johnsonville

Ventures. “As a stakeholder in the pork industry, we feel this is a necessary step in

helping prepare for and protect against African Swine Fever and other emerging


“Iowa Corn recognizes the importance of protecting the livestock industry against

emerging diseases such as African Swine Fever,” said Pete Brecht, Director of the Iowa

Corn Promotion Board. “ Iowa is a leader in both corn and pork production, we know the

value of investing in the protection of our animals and the livelihoods of our farmers

across the state. Genvax has a novel approach and an experienced management team

to address such an important issue for agriculture.”

Genvax was founded in February 2021 by animal health serial entrepreneurs Joel

Harris and Hank Harris, DVM Ph.D. In addition to the non-dilutive grant funding from

USDA-ARS-PIADC and FFAR, the company raised approximately $1.9 million in a

pre-seed round of funding.



About United Animal Health

United Animal Health, founded in 1956, is a research-driven company that helps protein

producers raise healthier animals to feed a growing world. United Animal Health offers

livestock nutrition and health products globally through the United Animal Health or

affiliate brands. The company, formally known as JBS United, set itself apart by

intimately knowing customers and understanding what they needed to be more

successful. That guiding principle continues to be the foundation of United Animal

Health today. To learn more, visit

About Genvax Technologies

Genvax is a startup animal vaccine company located in Ames, Iowa. We have a

dynamic team of experienced scientists and entrepreneurs poised to develop

next-generation mRNA + nanoparticle vaccines. Our Mission: Genvax Technologies

accelerates breakthrough solutions to the animal health industry. We commercialize the

tools for livestock producers and veterinarians that no one else can. Our Vision: We

believe in rapidly responding to the world around us. We cultivate new ideas to develop

novel solutions and create a long-lasting impact on animal health worldwide.





About Johnsonville Ventures

We are the venturing arm of Johnsonville Holdings and work in concert with

Johnsonville Sausage, a leading global brand of sausage sold in over 50 countries.

Based in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, Johnsonville Ventures invests in early to

mid-stage companies in life sciences, ag & food tech, and emerging technologies. We

connect our portfolio companies with our resources to expand markets, accelerate

growth and provide learning opportunities for our members.

About Iowa Corn

The Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB), works to develop and defend markets, fund

research, and provide education about corn and corn products. The Iowa Corn

Growers Association (ICGA) is a 7,000-member strong grassroots-driven

organization, headquartered in Johnston, Iowa, serving members across the state, and

lobbying on agricultural issues on behalf of its farmer members to create opportunities

for long-term Iowa corn grower profitability. For more information, visit

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