In order to continue on its agreed expansion course, the Austrian biotechnology company Innovacell is acquiring fresh capital: shareholders in the firm, which is developing cell-therapy for the treatment of stress-urinary incontinence (ICES13) and faecal incontinence, have agreed on a capital expansion of 8.3 million Euro.
This will take effect in two tranches. The main shareholders are the financial investors Buschier, Fides, HYBAG und the private equity firm, uni venture.
Phase III study begins
"The new capital flows directly into the clinical development of ICES 13," said Dr. Ekkehart Steinhuber, Innovacell's Chief Executive Officer.
Dr. Steinhuber continued, "The multi-centre, randomized Phase III study involving 370 patients is beginning now and will be carried out in several European countries."
Dr. Steinhuber expects to see the first results from the Phase III study in the fourth quarter of 2012, with central EU authorization from the European Medicines Agency which is needed to market the therapy, following in 2013.
In addition, the long-term results of the Phase IIb study have recently become available, in the framework of which the effectiveness, medical safety and dosage have been successful confirmed. "These show in retrospect that we are on the right track," emphasized Dr. Steinhuber.
Strong market growth
In contrast to earlier types of therapy for incontinence, which rely either on "bulking" methods or on surgical "lifting" of the uro-genital tract, Innovacell relies with ICES13 on the body's own ability to regenerate the sphincter muscle by employing its own muscle cells.
"Within the seven largest pharmaceutical markets worldwide, there are some seven million patients who could benefit from treatment with ICES13," estimates Dr. Steinhuber. "The total world market for the treatment of urinary incontinence is worth 10 billion Euro and is growing at an annual rate of 10 per cent."
Strengthening the board
Innovacell recently expanded its board: the internationally experienced financial expert, Rainer Hepberger has taken up his new role as Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Mr Hepberger is responsible for the operational leadership of financial affairs and company development.
Prior to being named to the financial board, Mr Hepberger held various positions in investment banking and company development, among others with the investment bank, William Blair & Company in London.
Since 2011, Rainer Hepberger has also been an independent consultant to various clients on finances, mergers and takeovers, as well as other financial matters. He has various book- and specialized-publication articles to his name.