UT-Baptist Research Park


Tenant Spotlight: Vaxent
Dr. James B. Dale, University of Tennessee Health Science Center Professor

Vaxent is a leading-edge Bioscience start-up that is an incubation company within the UT Baptist Research Park.

Vaxent’s lead product in development is a vaccine against group A streptococcus, which is the primary cause of pharyngitis or “strep throat” in children. It also causes other diseases such as necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) and rheumatic fever, which occurs primarily in adults. The science behind these products was developed at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis.

The selection committee of the World Vaccine Congress put Vaxent – a startup venture in Memphis with only two employees – alongside pharmaceutical giants Merck, Wyeth, Novartis and Sanofi Pasteur as a finalist for the Best Prophylactic Vaccine award.

Vaxent has been recognized for its StepNovA vaccine for Group A streptococcus, which causes infections as common as strep throat and as serious as flesh eating disease. The vaccine was one of six finalists for the award.

Dr. James B. Dale, a professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, developed the vaccine. It is being tested in phase two early stage human clinical trials.

Dr. Dale is the company’s chief scientific officer. His research into molecular pathogenesis of group A streptoccal diseases has been internationally recognized. He has received funding from the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Dale is regarded as one of the foremost researchers in Group A streptococcus, both disease and vaccine.

Pharmaceutical industry veteran Todd Patrick will take the reins as the company’s CEO. Patrick was the president and COO of vaccine development company ID Biomedical Corp., which was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline for more than $1.5 billion.

Vaxent is one of seven companies to which Innova Memphis has provided funding.

Watch the Research Park Video