PARIS and LEUVEN, Belgium, March 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Diatos S.A., a privately held biopharmaceutical company, announced today the expansion of its operations with the opening of a new research and development center in Leuven, Belgium. Last February the company announced a 7 million Euro round of financing, 3 million Euro of which came from the venture fund Biotech Fund Flanders (BFF), earmarked for the new R&D subsidiary in Flanders.
Professor Andre Trouet, Diatos' Chief Scientific Advisor and a renowned leader in the field of tumor-selective prodrugs, will oversee the research at the new R&D center located in Flanders, a region known for its hospitable environment for emerging biotechnology companies. Professor Trouet and his team in the Cell Biology Laboratory at the Universite Catholique de Louvain (UCL) have collaborated with Diatos for the past three years under a technology and research agreement which was recently completed. Diatos N.V., as the center will be called, will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Diatos S.A.
"Our original collaboration with UCL was extremely productive, and we are gratified to have Professor Trouet lead our continued TSP technology development at Diatos' new research center in Leuven," commented John Tchelingerian, Ph.D., Diatos President and Chief Executive Officer. "Diatos NV will also participate in the clinical development of our lead therapeutic candidate DTS-201."
A ceremony to dedicate the new R&D facility was held today in Leuven, with dignitaries from government, academia and the biotech industry in attendance. Dr. Tchelingerian stated, "At this time I would like to express our gratitude to Dr. Martin Hinoul, Business Development Manager of the KU Leuven R&D, for his efficient help in the establishment of Diatos N.V."
Frank Bulens, Executive Investment Manager of the Belgium venture capital firm GIMV Life Sciences which manages BFF for the government of Flanders, commented, "GIMV has been an investor in Diatos since 2000, and we are delighted that BFF is now joining the major European, US and Japanese venture capital firms that are supporting Diatos' cutting edge Research & Development. I am especially pleased to welcome the BFF funding because this is their first investment in a French-owned company establishing biotech activities in Flanders."
Diatos is using its proprietary Diatos Peptide Vector (DPV) intra-cellular/intra-nuclear delivery technology and its proprietary Tumor-Selective Prodrug (TSP) cancer-targeting technology to develop new therapies for cancer and other serious diseases.
-- Diatos Peptide Vector (DPV) technology enables or significantly
enhances selective cellular or nuclear uptake of a broad range of
therapeutic compounds, including small molecules, peptides and
proteins, antibodies and antibody fragments, oligonucleotides, and
-- Tumor Selective Prodrug (TSP) technology enables the release of
anti-cancer agents selectively at the sites of tumor cells.
The company's lead therapeutic candidate DTS-201, a doxorubicin prodrug based on the TSP technology concept, is currently in late stage preclinical development, and is expected to enter Phase I/II clinical trials during 2004.
Founded in 1999 as a spin-off from Institut Pasteur, Diatos has raised 33 million Euro to date from Sofinnova Partners (France), GIMV (Belgium), InterWest Partners (USA), Credit Lyonnais Private Equity (France), AGF Private Equity (France), NIF Ventures (Japan), Societe Generale Asset Management (France), Sopartec (Belgium), Innoven Partenaires (France) and BFF (Belgium). Diatos has a total of 35 employees. For more information about Diatos, visit our website at http://www.diatos.com/.
Since its incorporation in 1980, GIMV has grown into Belgium's most important venture capital provider and company-builder. GIMV has now become a major European and international market player. Both in Belgium and abroad, GIMV invests in life sciences, information and communication technology as well as in growth financing and management buy-outs (MBOs) of companies in more traditional sectors. GIMV has a portfolio of more than 150 investments with a net asset value of about 900 million Euro. GIMV has been listed on Euronext Brussels since 1997. For more information on GIMV, please go to http://www.gimv.com/.
Biotech Fund Flanders
Since 1994 GIMV manages the Biotech Fund Flanders, a venture fund focused on investments in life science projects in Flanders. The fund, which is sponsored by the Flemish government, has 25 million Euro to make commitments in both Flemish companies and foreign companies that intend to start activities in Flanders. Biotech Fund Flanders provided venture capital for the Flemish biotech start-ups Devgen and CropDesign and product development in existing companies such as PGS and Innogenetics. Contact: Frank De Leenheer, Investor Relations, Tel.: + 32-3-290.22.18, E-mail: FrankDL@gimv.be.
CONTACT: John Tchelingerian, Ph.D.
President & CEO of Diatos S.A.
+ 33-1-53 80 93 81
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