Pleasanton, Calif.-based Juvaris BioTherapeutics, a four-year-old biotech developing vaccines and drugs against infectious disease, won a $9 million, five-year grant from the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Disease. The money will fund collaborative research with Stanford and UC Davis to study adjuvants, which are substances that boost the body’s natural immune response. Adjuvants are often used to enhance the effectiveness of vaccines or to stretch existing supplies, since an adjuvant can reduce the amount of vaccine required to innoculate an individual.

Juvaris, founded in 2003, has to date raised roughly $22 million from private investors and government funds, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The company was built around its adjuvant technology — a “complex” of DNA and fatty molecules known as lipids that the company claims is 50 times more potent than existing adjuvants — and aims to develop vaccines, antibiotics and other anti-infective agents.