Santaris Pharma has announced that it has completed a EUR 40 M (DKK 298.4 M, US$ 48.3 M) private investment round.
The investment in Santaris Pharma has been made by an international syndicate of premier life science venture investors, led by ABN AMRO Capital Life Sciences of the Netherlands.
These new shareholders contributed approximately 50% of the round and Martien van Osch from ABN AMRO Capital and Dr. Holger Reithinger from GLSV will join the Board of Directors of Santaris Pharma.
The remaining investment was made by existing shareholders, including BankInvest, Novo Ventures, LD Pensions, Dansk Kapitalanlaeg and Dansk Erhvervsinvestering of Denmark, InnovationsKapital of Sweden and Teknoinvest of Norway.
The proceeds of the financing will be used primarily to fund continued development of Santaris Pharma’s portfolio of drug candidates based on LNA, including SPC 2996, an RNA Antagonist to Bcl-2, currently in an international Phase I/II clinical trial in patients with the blood cancer, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.
The funds will enable the start of clinical studies with other RNA Antagonists and the further development of Santaris Pharma’s platform for LNA-based human therapeutics.
The EUR 40 M aggregate investment includes the conversion to equity of approximately EUR 8 M of convertible debentures, invested by existing shareholders in 2005.
Cash investment in the financing is structured in two equal tranches, the first received by the Company now and the second to be received in 12 months time.
The Company expects that the funds will be sufficient to finance operations until approximately mid-2008.
Prior to the end of this period, Santaris Pharma expects to raise further financing via an initial public offering on a recognised stock exchange or by another appropriate transaction.
In announcing the Series B financing, Dr Keith McCullagh, Santaris Pharma’s CEO, said, "We welcome ABN AMRO, Global Life Science Ventures, Vaekstfonden and SPEF Venture as new shareholders in Santaris Pharma."
"They are all experienced investors in life sciences and join the Company’s existing group of high quality Scandinavian shareholders."
"The commercial potential of LNA-based therapeutics in medicine is high and the EUR 40m investment will enable us to evaluate the success of these drugs in Phase I and II clinical development."
On behalf of the new investor syndicate, Martien van Osch, a Director of ABN AMRO Capital’s Life Science team, said, "We have been pleased with the high level of interest from prospective new international investors in Santaris Pharma, its proprietary technology and exciting new product opportunities."
"We have had to scale back offers of investment in order to align with Company’s needs. We look forward to working successfully with the Santaris Pharma’s management and existing shareholders with the aim of creating strong pipeline growth."
Welcoming the investment on behalf of existing shareholders, Jesper Zeuthen, Santaris Pharma’s chairman, commented, "Santaris Pharma has matured rapidly since it was created in 2003."
"The Company now has an excellent management team, a portfolio of innovative potential products and an outstanding intellectual property position in LNA therapeutics."
"We are delighted to participate in structuring this significant new round of equity finance, which has also broadened and strengthened the Company’s shareholder base."