Amaranth Medical Closes $7.5 Million Series A Financing To Advance The Development Of Bio-Absorbable Stents
Published: Sep 27, 2006
The proceeds of this financing will be used to advance the company's bio-absorbable stents into human clinic trials. The company has developed a bio-absorbable urinary stent which will enter clinic trials shortly. The company's bio-absorbable vascular stents are expected to enter clinical trials in 2007, initially for the treatment of peripheral vascular disease ("PVD"). PVD is a major disease in developed countries, afflicting from 12 to 20 percent of people over the age of 65 in countries such as the United States, where PVD currently afflicts eight million people. Current treatment techniques, including metal stents, are only partially effective, and severe PVD, if not effectively treated, can result in limb amputation. Approximately 200,000 amputations take place in the United States each year as a result of limb ischemia. Metal stents have a history of high fracture rates in the treatment of PVD, and Amaranth's polymeric stents are expected to be much more durable than metal stents. Amaranth's stents also have the great advantage of being bio-absorbable, so that stent treatment of the PVD affected vessel can be repeated if the vasculature closes again after time (restenosis), while re-treatment of the same portion of the vasculature is extremely difficult or impossible after treatment with a metal stent.
Amaranth's core technology involves proprietary methods of creating bio-absorbable polymeric stents which offer a number of benefits over the metal stents currently in use. Amaranth's stents are self-expanding at body temperature, fully biodegradable, biocompatible, flexible, able to withstand multiple stresses and able to elute relatively large quantities of different drugs in multiple directions to prevent restenosis and enhance vessel repair.
Amaranth's technology was developed over several years by a team of researchers led by Professor Freddy Boey and Professor Subbu Venkatraman at Nanyang Technological University ("NTU") in Singapore. Professor Boey is the Chair of the School of Materials Science and Engineering at NTU and has many years of experience in materials development and engineering. Professor Venkatraman's notable career in polymer science includes over 20 years of product development experience with Silicon Valley companies, including Alza and Raychem, and he is now the Associate Chair of the School of Materials Science and Engineering at NTU. The company has been granted a worldwide exclusive license to this technology by NTU.
Amaranth was originally seeded in Singapore by Bio*One Capital Pte Ltd in 2005. The company's research, development and manufacturing facilities are located in Singapore, while the headquarters of the company are currently located in the offices of Charter Life Sciences in Palo Alto, California. Fred M. Schwarzer, managing director of Charter Life Sciences, serves as the chairman of Amaranth, and a search is ongoing for a chief executive officer of the company.
Mr. Schwarzer stated, "We are very excited by the potential for Amaranth's technology in the extremely large vascular stent market, including the near-term potential to address the unmet medical needs of peripheral vascular disease. Innovative technology is being developed around the world, and we are pleased to be able to help develop this technology from Singapore for the benefit of patients worldwide."
Ms. Swee-Yeok Chu, CEO of Bio*One Capital, stated, "Amaranth exemplifies how Singapore-grown companies with novel and innovative technology can leverage on the strong biomedical sciences capabilities and infrastructure available in Singapore and concurrently access the capital resources available in the United States. Bio*One Capital is pleased to co-lead this financing round and play an important role in the growth and development of this company."
Professor Boey stated, "I am especially pleased with the strong support from Bio*One Capital in founding Amaranth and that a technology wholly developed in Singapore is able to attract substantial funding from an experienced Silicon Valley venture capital investor like Charter Life Sciences."
The board of directors of Amaranth Medical consists of Mr. Fred Schwarzer, Dr. Freddy Boey, Dr. Guy Heathers, interim chief executive officer of Amaranth, Dr. Nelson Teng, managing director of Charter Life Sciences, Dr. Jui Lim, director of Bio*One Capital, and Dr. Lawrence Chin, director of Bio*One Capital.
About Amaranth Medical
Amaranth Medical was originally incorporated in 2005 to commercialize the research of Professors Freddy Boey and Subbu Venkatraman at the School of Materials Science and Engineering, Nanyang Technological University. The company has developed a stent for use in ameliorating blockage of the ureter caused by diseases of the urinary tract. This stent has been tested in animal trials and will shortly enter human clinical trials. Amaranth is currently looking for partners to market this uretric product while the company is refocusing its attention on the development of stents for alleviating vascular disease, both peripheral vascular disease and coronary vascular disease, which is a far larger market.
About Bio*One Capital Pte Ltd
Bio*One Capital is a leading, dedicated biomedical sciences investment management company in Asia with a worldwide presence. With funds of over US$600 million, investments are focused on promising and innovative global biomedical companies where Bio*One Capital can play a value adding role in bridging and supporting companies' growth strategies in Asia through their operations in Singapore. A part of the Singapore Economic Development Board, Bio*One Capital oversees a portfolio of over 60 companies in U.S., Europe, Singapore and Asia. For more information, please visit www.bio1capital.com.
About Charter Life Sciences
Charter Life Sciences is a venture capital fund headquartered in Palo Alto, California which specializes in early stage life sciences investments. For more information, please visit www.clsvc.com.
About Nanyang Technological University
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is a research-intensive university with globally acknowledged strengths in science and engineering. Ranked among the top 50 universities in the world, NTU has in place multi-country programs and initiatives with established institutions worldwide. NTU has 4 colleges, comprising 12 schools. The College of Engineering, with six schools focused on technology innovation, enjoys wide renown and currently ranks fourth in the world in engineering publications. The College of Science is at the forefront of Singapore's life sciences and science initiatives, while the Nanyang Business School offers one of the world's top 100 MBA programs. The College of Humanities and Arts boasts Singapore's first professional art school offering degree courses in art, design and interactive digital media, the Humanities and Social Science School, and the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, one of the best communication and information schools in Asia. The 13th school, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, will be inaugurated in 2007. An important component of this autonomous school is the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, long recognized as a world authority on terrorism. NTU is also home to the internationally acclaimed National Institute of Education, Singapore's only teacher-training institute. For more information, please visit www.ntu.edu.sg.
Contact: Contacts: (USA) Amaranth Medical, Inc. and Charter Life Sciences Fred M. Schwarzer 525 University Avenue, Suite 1400 Palo Alto, CA, USA +1 650 325 6953 http://www.clsvc.com
(Singapore) Bio*One Capital Pte Ltd Sheo S. Rai Marketing Communications 20 Biopolis Way #09-01 Centros Singapore 138668 +65 6395 7784 Email Contact
Nanyang Technological University Jackie Yu Corporate Communications 50 Nanyang Ave, Admin Bldg Level 1 Singapore 639798 +65 6790 5417 Email Contact
Amaranth Medical Pte Ltd Guy Heathers Chief Executive Officer Nanyang Polytechnic BioInnovation Centre 180 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8 Blk Q, Unit 505 Singapore 569830 +65 6554 5120 Email Contact
Source: Charter Life Sciences