MUNICH, Germany, May 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Privately held Wilex AG of Munich, Germany, announced today the closing of its series C private equity round with proceeds of EUR 30 million (US$ 39 million).
The new capital will allow CEO Prof. Olaf G. Wilhelm and his team at Wilex to further develop its strong clinical pipeline of novel cancer therapies. In particular, the Phase III Renal Cell Carcinoma study of Rencarex(R), a targeted antibody therapy for the treatment of solid tumors, will be progressed as well as the clinical development of WX-UK1 (the first urokinase inhibitor in the clinic inhibiting metastasis and tumor cell invasion for the treatment of breast cancer and other solid cancers) and of WX-671 (an oral serine protease inhibitor).
Led by Merlin Biosciences (London, UK), the round was subscribed by several new investors including Karolinska Investment Fund (Stockholm, Sweden), Quest for Growth (Leuven, Belgium), Quintiles' PharmaBio Development (North Carolina, USA) as well as existing shareholders including Apax Partners (London, UK), TVM Techno Venture Management (Munich, Germany), Earlybird Venture Capital (Hamburg, Germany) and other institutional and private investors.
To date, Wilex has raised more than EUR 68 million (US$ 89 million) of equity financing.
Salvatore D'Orsa, Investment Director of Merlin Biosciences and new member of the Supervisory Board of Wilex, said: "For its attractive development pipeline of late stage oncology products, its proven development strategy and experienced management team, Wilex has emerged as one of the most exciting biotech companies in Germany and has once more won the trust of a broad international private equity syndicate."
Niels Ackermann, Chief Financial Officer of Wilex AG, added: "Despite the challenging environment, this financing represents one of the largest private rounds in European Biotech this year providing us with the financial flexibility to continue our successful development strategy. This financing demonstrates and endorses the value created by Wilex over the past years and further enforces our commitment to reach our goals for the benefit of our shareholders and investors. We look forward to working together with such a well-balanced syndicate of new and existing investors."
Dr. David Ebsworth, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Wilex AG said: "We welcome Mr. Salvatore D'Orsa alongside Dr. Alexandra Goll of TVM and Dr. Friedrich von Bohlen as new members of the Wilex Supervisory Board and look forward to their support and contribution to the achievement of Wilex's key milestones. Finally, I wish to extend our thanks to resigning Supervisory Board members Mr. Mark Clement, Dr. Erich Enghofer, and Professor Sven Warnaar for their dedication and service to Wilex. They have been a great support for us during recent years."
Background on Wilex AG (http://www.wilex.com/)
Wilex AG, based in Munich (Germany), is a leading European biopharmaceutical company. Wilex is developing novel cancer therapies for the treatment of various tumors including renal and breast cancer. Therapies are based upon biologic targets directly connected to cancer progression and pathogenesis in order to provide effective and well tolerated treatment and enhance patients' quality of life. Wilex has a well-balanced late-stage product portfolio with three compounds in clinical trials and an attractive follow-on pre-clinical and research pipeline. The Company has two therapeutic platforms: antibodies and small molecules. The lead compound Rencarex(R) (WX-G250), a targeted antibody therapy for the treatment of solid tumors, is currently in a pivotal clinical Phase III trial in Renal Cell Cancer. The company's non-cytotoxic small molecule uPA inhibitors WX-UK1 and WX-671 for the treatment of breast cancer and other solid tumors are currently studied in several Phase I/II clinical trials. Wilex was founded in 1997 by clinical oncologists from the Technical University of Munich.