VIENNA, Austria, Feb. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- igeneon, a leading private cancer company based in Vienna, Austria, has raised a total of EUR 26.7 million (USD $34.3 million) in venture capital in a Series C financing round closed on February 19, 2004. The round was co-led by Burrill & Company, a leading US life sciences investor and 3i, one of Europe's largest venture capital firms and igeneon's long-term principal investor. Proceeds of the round will be used to further advance the development of igeneon's three clinical lead products: cancer vaccines IGN101 and IGN301 and humanized monoclonal antibody IGN311.
In discussing the investment, Burrill & Company Chief Executive Officer Steve Burrill commented: "This is the first investment in an integrated drug development company in Europe for Burrill & Company. We are very enthusiastic about igeneon, one of the leaders in oncology-focused clinical development in Europe. We were attracted by igeneon's promising Phase III product in pivotal studies in the largest cancer indications, and a clear focus on cancer immunotherapy."
Sabine Kaiser, Investment Director at 3i in Munich, said: "We have been supporting igeneon's growth since its inception in 1999. Being a co-leader in this round reflects our ongoing commitment to the Company and our trust in igeneon's business model and management."
Strong support in the Series C round came from Deutsche Venture Capital, which led the Series B round; Novartis Venture Fund, which has held a significant stake in igeneon since its inception; and igeneon's existing group of Austrian financiers, Capexit, gamma capital partners and Horizonte. New to the Series C round was another leading Austrian investment company, Invest AG.
The proceeds of the round will be used to further advance igeneon's clinical lead product candidates and to position the Company as an attractive partner for pharma alliances. The company's IGN101 cancer vaccine is currently in three pivotal Phase III trials in adjuvant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), metastatic colorectal and adjuvant breast cancer. Two other cancer immunotherapy product candidates -- the IGN311 humanized monoclonal antibody and the IGN301 cancer vaccine -- are undergoing a Phase I trial in Europe and a Phase Ib trial in the US, respectively. Additional product candidates are in advanced pre-clinical development.
"We are excited to have such a renowned US investor as Burrill & Company -- one of the most prestigious names in the biotech sector -- as an investor in igeneon, and are also encouraged by the continued confidence of our core investors," said igeneon Chief Executive Officer Hans Loibner. "The closing of the Series C financing provides a solid foundation for our partnering process which will provide an initial revenue stream and move igeneon forward on the way to sustainability."
Loibner stressed the significance of this first US investment to igeneon. "This is an important prerequisite for entering the US biotech sector, the world's largest," Loibner said. In total, igeneon has raised approximately EUR 66 million (USD $84.7 million) in three successive financing rounds and soft money since its formation in 1999. The next major milestone is for igeneon to out-license its lead product IGN101 to a pharma or large biotech partner.
John H. Kim, a Managing Director at Burrill & Company, will join igeneon's supervisory board on February 19, 2004. UBS has acted as private placement agent in the transaction, Dorda Brugger Jordis, counsel to the Company, acted as transaction lawyer.
About Burrill & Company
Burrill & Company is a life sciences merchant bank, focused exclusively on companies involved in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, human healthcare and related medical technologies, wellness and nutraceuticals, agricultural technologies, and industrial biotechnology (biomaterials/bioprocesses). The Burrill family of venture capital funds, with over $500 million under management, includes the Burrill Life Sciences Capital Fund, the Burrill Biotechnology Capital Fund, the Burrill Agbio Capital Fund and its successor -- the Burrill Agbio Capital Fund II, and the Burrill Nutraceuticals Capital Fund. For more information, please visit Burrill & Company's website at http://www.burrillandco.com/.
3i brings capital, knowledge and connections to the creation and development of businesses around the world. It invests in a wide range of opportunities from start-ups to buy-outs and buy-ins, focusing on businesses with high growth potential and strong management. 3i invests in businesses across three continents through local investment teams in Europe, Asia Pacific and the USA. To date, 3i has invested over $27 billion (including co-investment funds). For more information, visit http://www.3i.com/
igeneon is a biopharmaceutical company which focuses on the development of active and passive cancer immunotherapies designed to prevent or delay the development of metastases in cancers of epithelial origin. The company has built up a diversified portfolio. The three lead products, cancer vaccines IGN101 and IGN301 and the humanized monoclonal antibody IGN311, are broadly applicable and currently in clinical trials up to Phase III. igeneon is privately held. Investors include 3i, Burrill & Company, Deutsche Venture Capital and Novartis Venture Fund. The company is based in Vienna, Austria. For further information, visit http://www.igeneon.com/.
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