Boehringer Ingelheim has made its first investment from its corporate venturing fund launched in March in Okairòs, a Switzerland-based drug development company, which has raised €16m ($20.5m) in its series B round. 

The financing was led by venture capital firm Versant Ventures and joined by the €100m Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund. All existing investors from Okairòs’ €7.2m series A round in 2007 reinvested. The A round was led by VCs Life Science Partners and BioMedPartners which were joined by local drug company Novartis.

Okairòs is a spin-off company from US-listed Merck’s IRBM science park in Italy to use T-cell vaccines for diseases, including malaria, HIV, hepatitis C and universal influenza.

Riccardo Cortese, chief executive and co-founder of Okairos, said: "Existing technologies have not lived up to their promise and this investment will allow us to explore a new approach that exploits the body’s immune response."

Michel Pairet, head of…

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