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February 9, 2022

Xanadu Bio licenses Yale tech in pursuit of intranasal COVID vaccine

PHOTOS | Contributed Akiko Iwasaki

A startup co-launched by pandemic expert Akiko Iwasaki has licensed technology from Yale to develop an intranasal COVID-19 vaccine, the company announced Tuesday.

Founded last year, the startup, Xanadu Bio, is based in New Haven. The company has licensed PACE technology, the use of fully biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles to fight viruses.

“PACE is easily manufactured, cost effective, scalable and can be functionalized to allow both organ and cell specific delivery of its nucleic acid payload,” according to a company statement.

Xanadu Bio also executed options with Yale for the intranasal delivery of PACE recombinant proteins, the technology for a potential COVID-19 vaccine administered through the nose. 

The company’s intranasal vaccine booster is poised for a quick entry into clinical trials, Xanadu CEO Dr. Bruce C. Turner said. Turner is a former senior executive at F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, managing director at Tavistock Group/Boxer Capital and co-founder of Gennao Bio.

“We plan to enter the clinic in the near-term with a nasally delivered vaccine booster against SARS-CoV-2 using mRNA technology which has been proven safe and effective, and has a unique profile that includes inducing mucosal immunity at the site of entry, hopefully killing the virus before both symptoms develop and the virus has spread to others,” Turner said.

Xanadu co-founder Mark Saltzman, a professor of chemical and biomedical engineering and faculty co-director of Yale’s Center for Biomedical Innovation and Technology, said that he hoped the company’s innovations would have a significant impact against COVID-19.

“It is very satisfying to see the PACE technology that I have spent the past decade developing and improving now being used in a novel mRNA booster against SAR2-CoV-2…potentially helping to end this awful pandemic,” Saltzman said.

Turner, Saltzman and Iwasaki founded Xanadu Bio in 2021, along with Dr. Marie Egan, Matthew Simon, Alexandra Piotrowski-Daspit and Dr. Todd Wider.

Iwasaki has become a widely quoted expert on the COVID-19 pandemic in recent months, commenting on the epidemiology of long COVID and other topics for publications including the New York Times. 

Iwasaki, professor of immunobiology and epidemiology at the Yale School of Medicine, was among six Yale faculty members elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2019.

Contact Liese Klein at

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