Cambridge, UK, 15 September 2011: Horizon Discovery (Horizon), a leading provider of research tools to support the development of personalized medicines, has announced that it has completed a second closing of its Series C funding round, realizing a cumulative total of £11.3m ($18.6m) funding via a private placement of ordinary shares in the Company. The funding will support improvement of the Company’s core technology platforms, a strengthening of its IP position, and expansion into new disease areas outside of its historical cancer focus.
The second closing was led by MVM Life Sciences LLP and was also subscribed to by a consortium of existing investors: DFJ Esprit LLP, Roche Venture Fund, Dr Jonathan Milner, Mr David Evans, Mr Peter Collins, Providence Investment Company Ltd and Mr David Cleevely. The Company has raised £13.9m since its Seed investment in March 2008 and has achieved a 40 fold increase in valuation in the same period.
Horizon has also announced a number of appointments to strengthen its senior management team and board of directors. Joining the board, effective immediately, are Dr Martin Murphy, Mr Dan Cowell and Mr Peter Keen. Mr David Evans a non-executive director has been appointed Non-Executive Chairman taking over from Dr Darrin M Disley, who has been appointed Chief Executive Officer and will join Mr Dan Cowell, Chief Operating Officer, and Dr Chris Torrance, Chief Scientific Officer as executive directors. Mr Peter Keen, an experienced non-executive director, will assume the role of part time Chief Financial Officer.
Mr David Evans, a qualified accountant, has many years' experience both as an executive and as a non-executive of publicly listed diagnostic and life science companies and has served on the Board of the following AIM listed companies; Immunodiagnostic System Plc, Epistem Plc, Omega Diagnostics Group Plc and Scancell Holdings Plc.
The new directors join Dr Jonathan Milner, who was appointed a Non-Executive Director in February 2011. Jonathan is an experienced entrepreneur and business leader with a background in genetic research. In 1998, he founded the internet-based business Abcam (AIM: ABC), the producer and distributor or research-grade antibodies and associated products with a market capitalization in excess of £600m.
Dr Martin Murphy of MVM Life Sciences LLP will become an investor director alongside Dr Nigel Pitchford of DFJ Esprit LLP who was appointed at the first closing.
Horizon’s mission is to provide its customers with cutting-edge biological tools and services that will accelerate the pace of development of ‘stratified’ or ‘personalized’ medicines. In the last year the Company has grown from 25 to more than 65 FTEs. In recent months, Horizon has secured several multi-million pound EUFP7 grants, closed numerous new customer deals and achieved a major milestone with a key pharmaceutical partner, which will release £6m of revenue over four years. The Company is now well positioned to achieve its fourth consecutive year of over 100% top-line growth.
Commenting on the announcement, Dr Darrin M Disley, Chief Executive Officer of Horizon said: “On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to welcome David Evans to his position of Chairman and Dan Cowell, Peter Keen and Martin Murphy to the board. Their experience and expertise will be invaluable as we develop the Company. Horizon is very pleased to add another blue-chip investor who shares our vision to build a world-leading translational genomics company and a UK Biotech company to be proud of.”
Dr Martin Murphy, Partner at MVM Life Sciences LLP, said: “We are delighted to be making this investment. Horizon’s X-MAN technology platform represents a best-in-class approach for translating genomic information into better drugs and diagnostics, more effective clinical development and, ultimately improved patient outcomes. We believe that Horizon can become the dominant provider of research tools to the rapidly growing personalized medicine industry. The company’s revenue growth to date has been highly impressive and we are pleased to support this management team to execute on their vision for the business.”
Dr Nigel Pitchford, Partner at DFJ Esprit, said: “Horizon Discovery has made significant progress over the last 12 months since DFJ Esprit first invested. We strongly believe that the announced changes to the management team and board, as well as the strengthening of Horizon’s financial resources, will allow the company to maximize the technical and commercial opportunities that are currently presenting themselves.”
For high-res photographs of the management team and board of directors please e-mail: email@example.com
For more information please contact:
Dr Darrin M Disley
Chief Executive Officer, Horizon Discovery
+44 (0) 1223 655 580 (Reception), +44 (0) 1223 655 587 (Direct)
Media enquiries for Horizon:
Zyme Communications Ltd
+44 (0)7811 996 942
About Horizon Discovery
Horizon Discovery is a leading provider of research tools to support the development of personalized medicines. The Company’s proprietary virally-mediated precision gene engineering technology, GENESIS, enables any endogenous gene in a human cell line to be altered quickly, reliably and without introducing unwanted and confounding genotypes and/or phenotypes. Using GENESIS™, Horizon Discovery has developed X-MAN™ (gene-X; Mutant And Normal) cell models, which are the world’s first source of genetically-defined and patient-relevant human cell lines.
The Company’s broad panel of over 350 different X-MAN cell lines, which have been referred to as “patients-in-a-test-tube,” accurately model the disease-causing mutations in cancer patients. The X-MAN cell lines are being used by academic and industry leaders to identify the effect of individual mutations on drug activity, patient responsiveness and resistance, and to successfully predict which patient sub-groups will respond to currently available, and future drug treatments. This supports the design of shorter, more focused clinical trials, making it possible to identify the ‘right drugs’ for the ‘right patients’ based upon the unique genetic mutations that define their disease.
Founded by Dr Chris Torrance and Professor Alberto Bardelli, and with headquarters in Cambridge, UK, the company builds on a long heritage in precision gene engineering, cancer research and translational medicine. Horizon’s GENESIS technology has won numerous awards, and there are currently more than 400 scientific papers published relating to the use of GENESIS technology and X-MAN cell line pairs.
GENESIS and X-MAN are both registered trademarks of Horizon Discovery Limited.
About MVM Life Sciences LLP
MVM Life Science Partners LLP is a venture capital firm that has been investing in emerging healthcare companies since 1998. It has three funds totalling £277 million under management and a team of eight investment professionals located in London and Boston. MVM invests in companies that are developing or commercialising medical devices, pharmaceuticals, vaccines, drug delivery technologies, OTC medicines, research & discovery tools, diagnostics and healthcare services.
About DFJ Esprit
DFJ Esprit is a leading cross-stage venture capital firm with just under $1 billion under management that invests in European life science and technology companies. The DFJ Esprit partners have invested and helped build many of Europe’s most successful venture companies of recent years, including LOVEFiLM, Apatech, Buy.at, Icera, KVS, CSR and Domantis. DFJ Esprit is the exclusive European partner for Silicon Valley based Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) Global Network of venture funds. DFJ Esprit invests across Europe and has partners located in London, Cambridge, Dublin, Helsinki and Paris. For more information: http://www.dfjesprit.com/home