i-lab Resident Spotlight: Vaxess

“Cambodia, 2009: An Italian working for the United Nations, Livio Valenti, is looking for ways to support rural farmers to expand their income opportunities. Sericulture, the process of raising silkworms to create silk products, represents a great opportunity. He stumbles on the research of a professor at Tufts University, Fiorenzo Omenetto, who postulates that silk proteins can replace some current ingredients in vaccines. The silk matrix provides greater stability, eliminating the need for cold-chain transport, which would spread vaccines off the grid to places where there is no refrigeration or electricity. ‘We thought about how to use silk for tackling the most unmet challenges in global health,’ said Valenti. ‘We saw the opportunity of building a profitable business while creating sustainably an important public good: increasing access to health for those who are most in need.’…”

Harvard Innovation Lab