VANCOUVER, June 2 /CNW/ - Inimex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is pleased to announce the closing of a US $22 Million Series B venture financing. Leading the round was Morningside Venture Investments Ltd., joined by additional new investors Roche Venture Fund, Switzerland, CA-based Astellas Venture Management LLC, the corporate venture capital arm of Astellas Pharma Inc. in Japan, and BC-based Advantage Life Science Fund II. Completing the round were existing Canadian investors, BC Advantage Funds (VCC) Ltd., BDC Capital Inc., British Columbia Discovery Fund (VCC) Inc., the Canadian Medical Discovery Fund Ltd. managed by JovInvestment Management, Inc. and the Working Opportunity Fund (EVCC) Ltd., managed by GrowthWorks Capital Ltd.
The funds will enable Inimex to conduct the first clinical trials of an Innate Defense Regulator (IDR) drug in patients and to evaluate IDR drugs in a broad range of disease models. IDRs are novel drugs that selectively trigger the body's innate defenses, protecting against antibiotic-resistant infections and controlling inflammation.
"We are pleased to join leading Canadian investors in support of Inimex as it moves into the all-important human clinical trials," said Dr. Gerald Chan, co-founder of Morningside. "The company's preclinical data suggest the possibility of an outstanding class of new drugs that will change the way we treat and control infectious disease. It is exciting to be part of Inimex - a company that could change the landscape of medicine."
Dr. John North, President and CEO of Inimex added, "We are delighted to welcome this group of leading international investors on board. This funding is a vote of confidence in Inimex's preclinical findings and the development of our ground-breaking drugs, which have huge potential in control of infection and inflammation."
Inimex and its co-founders Dr. Bob Hancock and Dr. Brett Finlay, from the University of British Columbia, have received widespread international attention for their pioneering research on IDR peptide drugs. Most recently, their leadership was recognized with the award of a grant from the Gates Grand Challenges in Global Health through the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, as well as with a published article in Nature Biotechnology describing the effectiveness of IDRs on a variety of bacterial infections. Their studies show that these agents, mimicking naturally occurring compounds, quickly boost the immune system and control inflammation, enabling the body to fight off infections when antibiotics don't work.
"We believe IDR peptides will have broad application in patients of all ages, acting against infections associated with cystic fibrosis, pneumonia, inflammation and in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy," said North. "We are in desperate need of a new approach to treatments of superbugs because the antibiotic resistance problem is rapidly becoming more prevalent."
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus (VRE) are bacteria responsible for infections that defy treatment by most antibiotics. MRSA and VRE, especially troublesome in hospital-associated infections, cause more than 90,000 deaths each year in North America.
About Morningside Group
Morningside Group (www.morningside.com) is a diversified investment group founded in 1986 by the Chan family of Hong Kong. It is engaged primarily in private equity and venture capital investments. The group has investments in North America, Europe, across Asia-Pacific, and since 1992, in Mainland China. The Morningside Group was one of the earliest institutional investors in China's internet industry and in recent years has been an active investor in China's emerging biotechnology sector.
About Inimex Pharmaceuticals
Inimex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a privately held biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development, and commercialization of new medicines based on the selective modulation of the innate immune response. Inimex' first in class products show promise for the safe and effective treatment of a broad spectrum of serious unmet medical needs in infectious disease and inflammatory disorders.
For more information, please visit: www.inimexpharma.com
For further information
Angela Wiebe, Media Relations, Curve Communications, T: (604) 684-3170 ext. 104, C: (604) 306-5279, E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Inimex Pharmaceuticals Inc.