28th January, 2008, Graz, Austria: ProtAffin Biotechnologie AG, a company developing protein therapeutics that act by targeting glycan structures, today announced that it has appointed Dr. Simon Moroney to its Supervisory Board. This follows a second closing of ProtAffin’s Series A financing round, announced on 14th January 2008.
Dr. Moroney is Chief Executive Officer of MorphoSys AG in Martinsried/Munich, Germany. Prior to co-founding MorphoSys in 1992, Dr. Moroney held positions at the University of Cambridge, UK, at the University of British Columbia, Canada, and in the Chemistry Department of the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland. Subsequently he was an Associate in the Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA and an employee of ImmunoGen Inc., where he worked on the development of antibody-based cancer drugs. Since 1992, Dr. Moroney has led MorphoSys to its position as one of the leading biologics companies in Europe and the USA, with a broad-ranging strategic alliance with Novartis AG. In 2002, Dr. Moroney was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz am Bande (Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany) for his services to the biotechnology industry.
Dr. Jason Slingsby, CEO of ProtAffin commented: “We are honoured that Simon has agreed to join the Supervisory Board of ProtAffin. He has invaluable insight into the strategic choices facing a growing biotech with ambitions to develop both a discovery platform and its own internal product pipeline. We look forward to working with him as we progress our internal product development programs at ProtAffin, including our lead anti-inflammatory product PA401 and external partnering discussions for our CellJammer® discovery technology. ”
About ProtAffin AG
ProtAffin was spun-out from the University of Graz, Austria in July 2005 by Dr. Jason Slingsby and Professor Andreas Kungl. Since its foundation, the Company has raised €4.3m in equity financing and €1m in grant support. The €2.65m first closing of the Series A financing in May 2007 was led by Aescap Venture Management BV in Amsterdam. Z-Cube Srl, the venture arm of the Zambon Group also participated in the first closing. A second closing of the Series A financing was announced in January 2008. The Entrepreneurs Fund invested a further €1.35m, to bring the Series A round to €4m in total.
ProtAffin is a pre-clinical biotechnology company developing protein-based products targeting inflammation. Its novel class of biologics targets heparin-like glycan structures driving inflammatory processes. ProtAffin’s lead anti-inflammatory programme is PA401, a modified form of human IL-8 that acts as a potent, targeted anti-inflammatory protein. By binding to glycans that drive the infiltration of leukocytes in inflammation with a higher affinity than wild-type IL-8, PA401 can prevent wild-type IL-8 from activating leukocytes and inhibit the events that would normally lead to inflammation. PA401 is in pre-clinical development at ProtAffin for the treatment of ischemia/reperfusion injury in the setting of kidney transplantation. The Company developed PA401 using its own CellJammer® discovery technology, a widely applicable technology to develop biologics which target glycans driving inflammation and cancer. The Company has four internal programs including PA401 which are currently unpartnered.
The Company currently has 12 employees in its offices and labs in Graz, Austria. The Company also has a Corporate Office in Vienna, Austria on the campus of the Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research.
For further information, please contact:
Dr. Jason Slingsby, Chief Executive Officer
T: +43 316 382 541
F: +43 316 382 541-4
College Hill (media enquiries)
Holly Griffiths/ Gemma Price/ Katja Stout
T: +44 (0)20 7866 7856
F: +44 (0)20 7866 7900