NanoBio Corp., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company in Ann Arbor, Monday announced it has changed its name to BlueWillow Biologics in conjunction with the closing of a $10 million Series A financing.
The company’s name also reflects its new move to a vaccine-focused company and commitment to advancing its latest intranasal technology to develop new vaccines for several respiratory and sexually transmitted diseases. The Series A financing round was led by North Coast Technology Investors, Line Moon Ventures, and the University of Michigan.
Most infectious pathogens enter the body across mucosal surfaces, but most vaccines are injected and do not elicit mucosal immunity. BlueWillow’s technology, which would be administered via intranasal or intramuscular vaccination, can elicit both systemic and mucosal immunity, could change this.
“Over the past several years, our research has increasingly demonstrated that our intranasal platform can play a pivotal role in the vaccines of tomorrow,” says Dave Peralta, CEO of BlueWillow. “Much of our data points to increased protection against some of the world’s most severe respiratory and sexually transmitted infections. With the commitment of our Series A investors and the tremendous support we continue to receive from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), BlueWillow is now rapidly approaching phase 1 human clinical studies in several programs.”
In the new name, “Blue” is a reference to the University of Michigan, where the company’s nanotechnology was discovered. “Willow” refers to willow trees which are known to have deep, strong roots and large, protective branches.
“The NIH, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, State of Michigan, Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences, and the University of Michigan Technology Transfer Office have been instrumental in the advancement of BlueWillow’s intranasal vaccine platform,” says Peralta. “We are very grateful to each of these partners, as well as our core investors, for their support, guidance, and investment in BlueWillow’s promising future.”
The company was originally founded under its previous name to develop topical nanoscale therapies for dermatology. BlueWillow will continue to develop skin and wound treatments through partnerships and external collaborations under the NanoBio trademark.