Solexa Ltd. Announces Successful Closure Of $14.4 Million Financing

CAMBRIDGE, England and MENLO PARK, California, September 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Solexa Ltd., a company at the forefront of developing systems that will allow the rapid sequencing of individual genomes, has announced that it has recently closed its Series B financing, raising an additional US$14.4m. The financing round was led by Amadeus Capital Partners, with existing venture investors Abingworth Management, Schroder Ventures Life Sciences and Oxford Bioscience Partners, participating in the round. It brings the total investment raised by the Company to date to around US$40m.

Commenting on the financing, newly appointed CEO John West, who recently joined Solexa from Applied Biosystems Inc., said: "The closing of the round marks an exciting point of transition for the Company, as it moves from a period of innovation and invention into product development and commercialization."

This new investment will be applied to the development of Solexa's revolutionary systems for the comprehensive, ultra-high throughput and economical analysis of individual genomes, based on its breakthrough single molecule-based sequencing technology. It will also enable the Company to begin commercialization of its services and systems on a global basis.

Solexa, based close to Cambridge, UK, and also at Menlo Park, California, has established a leading position in the next generation sequencing space and expects to launch its first product in 2005. It will have in-house prototype systems available for collaborative projects from early 2005. Initial customers will include those organizations wishing to sequence large regions of genomic DNA, including whole genomes, at costs several orders of magnitude below current levels.

West added: "On joining Solexa, I have been impressed with how far it has progressed toward practical implementation. I have seen numerous advanced technologies proposed for DNA analysis since the early 1980s and almost none have reached the market. Solexa, on the other hand, has quietly and carefully worked on the core chemistry and enzymology it needs and has made remarkable progress. Its recent acquisition of DNA cluster technology has now closed the signal-to-noise gap it faced and should enable shipments in 2005. While other companies propose stretching the microtiter plate concept to the limit with expensive microfluidic designs, Solexa has moved directly to the molecular level. This promises thousand-fold higher density than the finest microfluidic chambers, with none of the complexity."

Hermann Hauser, a Director of lead investor Amadeus Capital Partners said: "Solexa's ground-breaking sequencing technology will play an important role in the coming age of gene-based medicines. The step change that Solexa's systems offer will enable genome re-sequencing applications, pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine to become an economic reality, delivering substantial health benefits for everyone. As investors who seek to back those technologies that will bring about real changes for the future, we are delighted to be part of this company's development."

About Solexa

Solexa, Ltd, a private company headquartered outside Cambridge, U.K., is developing systems for the comprehensive and economical analysis of individual genomes. The ability to read individual genomes quickly and economically will be a fundamental tool in the development of the biological and medical sciences in the 21st Century. Solexa's ultimate goal is to develop systems capable of achieving the so called "US$1,000 genome." For more information, visit Solexa's Web site at http://www.solexa.com/.

About Amadeus (http://www.amadeuscapital.com/)

Amadeus invests venture capital in new technologies from offices in London and Cambridge, UK. The firm has backed over 45 companies in the UK and continental Europe, covering computer hardware and software, mobile and fixed communications technologies and medical technologies. Investments include Cambridge Silicon Radio, producing single chip bluetooth radios for short range connections and recently floated on the London Stock Exchange, Optos, a manufacturer of laser retinal scanners and number one in this year's Techtrak 100, Valista, an electronic payments company, Solexa, developing ultra high speed gene sequencing machines and AePONA, a developer of standards-based software gateways for the telecoms industry. Successful realizations from the Amadeus portfolio include Entropic, bought by Microsoft and Element-14, bought by Broadcom Corporation.

About Abingworth Management (http://www.abingworth.com/)

Abingworth was founded in 1973 and is a key player among life science venture capital investors with offices in London, Cambridge (UK) and Palo Alto. Specializing in unquoted life science and biomedical companies, Abingworth now has funds under management of over US$700 million and 24 staff including experienced professionals with operational and venture capital expertise. The company has backed more than 80 life science/medical firms, most of which have gone public or have been acquired. Abingworth has access to extensive resources including individuals with specialist venture capital, legal, financial, scientific, clinical, pharmaceutical, recruiting, fund raising, operating and investment banking skills to assist portfolio companies at any stage of development and take them beyond an IPO.

About Oxford Bioscience Partners (http://www.oxbio.com/)

Oxford Bioscience Partners (OBP) is a premier life science venture capital firm providing equity financing and management assistance to start-up early-stage, entrepreneurial-driven companies in the bioscience and healthcare industries. The General Partners of OBP currently manage venture funds with combined committed capital of more than US$800 million. They have extensive operating management experience in the U.S. and abroad and have played a key role in the founding of other successful cutting-edge technology companies, including Human Genome Sciences, Gene Logic, Geron and Exelixis.

About Schroder Ventures Life Sciences (http://www.svlifesciences.com/)

Schroder Ventures Life Sciences ('SVLS') is a life sciences focused venture capital adviser. SVLS advised funds invest in companies requiring funding within the human life sciences sector including biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, medical devices and instruments, healthcare IT and services. Schroder Ventures advised funds have invested in the life sciences industry since the early 1980s and to date have backed over 100 companies internationally. SVLS was established in 1993 and currently has offices in London, Boston and San Francisco.

SVLS advises four funds with total capital of approximately US$900m which invest in life science companies at all stages of development. SVLS has 22 professionals who are able to provide hands on scientific, advisory and financial support to their portfolio companies. Three of the funds are venture capital limited partnerships which provide seed, start-up, early stage and expansion capital primarily to private companies in the US and Europe. Typical investment size for these funds is between US$2m and US$20m. The fourth fund International Biotechnology Trust plc is a publicly quoted investment trust listed on the London Stock Exchange (ticker IBT), with total net asset value of approximately US$113m (as at 30 June 2004). IBT has an investment focus on later stage private and smaller cap listed life sciences stocks.

On the 30 May 2003, SVLS had a final close of its third fund, International Life Sciences Fund III (ILSF III) with total commitments of US$402m. Schroder Ventures Life Sciences in the UK is a trading name of Schroder Ventures Life Sciences Advisers (UK) Ltd, which is regulated by the Financial Services Authority's register and its registration number is 171956.

Solexa

CONTACT: For more information, please contact: At NorthbankCommunications - Sue Charles, CEO, Tel: +44(0)20-7886-8152,Mobile: +44(0)7968-726585, E-mail:s.charles@northbankcommunications.com; Rebecca Todd, AccountManager, Tel: +44-(0)207-886-8157, Mobile: +44-(0)7801-573073,E-mail: r.todd@northbankcommunications.com ; At Solexa: In USA:John West, CEO, Tel: +1-(650)-926-0604, Email:john.west@solexa.com; In Europe: Simon Bennett, BusinessDevelopment, Tel: +44-(0)1799-532-300, Mobile:+44-(0)7768-014597, Email: simon.bennett@solexa.com

Back to news