equinet Venture Partners and KfW become shareholders in Phenex; additional funding comes from BioChance plus and the Investitions- and Strukturbank (ISB) of Rheinland-Pfalz
Ludwigshafen, Germany, October 11th, 2005
„We are very pleased with the fact that we could close this funding round in a very difficult environment.“
– Thomas Hoffmann –
CFO of Phenex
Phenex Pharmaceuticals announced today the closing of its first equity financing round with equinet Venuture Partners, the managing organisation of the Venture Capital Rheinland-Pfalz Fonds (VRP), as lead investor. The Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), the German federal state owned bank, matches VRP as additional investor and shareholder under its ERPStartfonds Program. Together with additional grants from the „BioChanceplus“ program from the German Ministry for Research and Education (BMBF) and subsidies from a technology program from the ISB of Rheinland-Pfalz, Phenex secures a total funding of 4,2 M Euro. These proceeds will be used to accelerate Phenex´ proprietary drug discovery programs as well as to promote the expansion of Phenex´ existing service business. The funds from the Land Rheinland-Pfalz were accessible to Phenex due to the relocation of Phenex from Heidelberg to Ludwigshafen.
„We are very pleased with the fact that we could close this funding round in a very difficult environment,“ states Thomas Hoffmann, CFO of PheneX, „a funding round that is adequate to expand our dual business model“. So far, we have been focussed on building our technology platform. On the basis of this platform we could establish a profitable service business with an expanding base of currently a dozen of high profile international customers. The long term growth potential of Phenex, however, lies in our own drug discovery and development projects. With the proceeds of this funding round we are now enabled to invest the required resources, here.”
Dr. Claus Kremoser, CEO of Phenex, complements: „By outsourcing huge parts of our drug discovery porgrams to appropriate companies and through collaborations with academic partners, we can keep our running costs quite low. This should enable us with high probability to take at least one of our ongoing drug discovery projects up to the nomination of a clinical development candidate within the next two years. We will then see whether we choose the option to seek another financing round with equity investors or whether we will develop our projects together with partners from the pharma or biotech industry. We have a good starting basis in that we have the first patented lead structures for drugs with demonstrated activities in animal models.“
Dr. Farsin Yadegardjam, Member of the Executive Board of equinet Venture Partners AG, the management company of the VRP-Fonds, adds: „We are pleased, indeed, to have found a very promising investment opportunity in Phenex. What has convinced us was the fact, that Phenex has managed to build from scratch a profitable service business in its own home domain nuclear receptors with high profile customers from all over the world. In addition to this, we see an extraordinary opportunity to invest into a company with high upside potential in drug development at an acceptable valuation. We think that Phenex has a groundbreaking dual business model, a model that could serve as a paradigm for early stage companies in Germany.“
The Minister for economic affairs of Rheinland-Pfalz, Mr Hans-Artur Bauckhage, sees a proof for the attractiveness of his region in Phenex´ move to Ludwigshafen: „We welcome Phenex´ decision, this shows again Rheinland-Pfalz has taken the right approach in its efforts to support high potential future industries. Phenex´ choice for RheinlandPfalz demonstrates our attractiveness and competitiveness as a location for high tech enterprises.“
In addition, Mr Hans Joachim Metternich, Spokesman of the Executive Board of the Investitions- and Strukturbank Rheinland-Pfalz (ISB) Gmbh is delighted about Phenex´ relocation to the chem2biz Technology Center in Ludwigshafen: „We can and we will support Phenex to the best of our efforts. We, as the central organisation for this purpose in RheinlandPfalz, have a bundle of support programs than can be combined and tailored to individual companies´ needs.“
About Phenex´SNuRM technology
The SNuRM -Technology combines automated protein interaction analysis with Nuclear Receptor specific gene expression analysis. Nuclear Receptors are generally known as excellent drug targets. With some Nuclear Receptors the striking phenomenon can be observed that the same ligand at the same receptor can be stimulatory as well as inhibitory, depending on the chemical nature of the ligand and the tissue environment. Classical Nuclear Receptor targeted drugs tend to yield a good efficacy for their main indication at the cost of potentially severe adverse effects (e.g. estradiol for hormone replacement therapy or cortisol as an antiinflammatory glucocorticoid). Phenex´ SNuRM –Technology analyses the molecular effects of different compounds at the targeted Nuclear Receptor and thereby contributes important information to the design of novel selective drugs with much less adverse effects.
About equinet Venture Partners
equinet Venture Partners, based in Frankfurt/Main, is the venture capital arm of the investment bank equinet AG. Currently managing three venture capital funds, eVP invests in rapidly growing technology companies. Besides financing, eVP also offers comprehensive support for growing companies, from strategic development through to market entry and sales.
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Dr. Claus Kremoser
About Phenex Pharmaceuticals AG
Phenex is a privately held drug discovery and development company headquartered in Heidelberg. The biopharmaceutical company can now build on nineteen years of expertise in exploring and defining innovative, potent and selective new drug candidates from small molecules. Phenex´s R&D activities are centered around diseases of liver such as NASH and cancer.