Allozyne, Inc., a Seattle-based biotechnology company focused on the development and manufacture of improved protein therapeutics, announced today that it has closed a $30 million Series B financing. Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance Allozyne’s lead product candidate, an improved version of Interferon beta for the treatment for Multiple Sclerosis (MS), into clinical development and through the completion of phase I clinical trials. This funding will also accelerate the preclinical development of a second program as well as further exploit the company’s proprietary technology platform. The company also announced today that it has appointed Ms. Meenu Chhabra as President and Chief Executive Officer.
MPM Capital led the financing with participation from existing investors OVP Venture Partners, Amgen Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners, and Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. With the closing of this financing Allozyne will prepare to exit from Accelerator Corporation, a venture capital-backed investment vehicle supporting the formation and development of next-generation biotechnology companies. Accelerator’s syndicate of venture capital investors made a Series A investment in Allozyne in November of 2005.
Allozyne, Inc., was founded to commercialize proprietary technologies developed in the laboratories of Dr. David Tirrell and Dr. William Goddard III at the California Institute of Technology. These technologies will enable the company to improve the efficacy of protein-based therapeutics. This is achieved by applying a rapid and consistent approach to specifically modifying recombinant proteins, and has broad utility in developing improved therapeutic proteins and monoclonal antibodies. Seattle serial scientific entrepreneur Kenneth Grabstein, Ph.D., has successfully led the company through its initial development stage and will continue to serve as Chief Scientific Officer of the company.
Meenu Chhabra recently joined Allozyne as President and Chief Executive Officer, having previously served as Vice President, Business Development and Licensing, for Novartis Consumer Health (Geneva, Switzerland). Immediately prior to joining Novartis, Ms. Chhabra served as the Chief Business Officer at BioXell S.p.A. (Milan, Italy). Ms. Chhabra has also held management positions at NeurAxon, Inc., and Fresenius Kabi AG, as well as sales and marketing roles at Parke Davis/Warner Lambert, Inc., and Bristol Myers Squibb, Inc. Ms. Chhabra received her Bachelor of Science degree from University of Toronto in Pharmacology and her Master's in Business Administration from York University with a focus in Strategy and Finance. ”Allozyne is at a critical inflection point in its lifecycle, and I am honored to join the company,” stated Ms. Chhabra. “We intend to build a company that will offer the market a technology platform that is on the vanguard of next-generation protein therapeutics. It is an exciting time to be at Allozyne as we are poised for success.”
Dr. Michael Steinmetz, Executive Chairman of Allozyne and a General Partner at MPM Capital for BioVentures I, II, and III, as well as a Managing Director at Clarus Ventures, stated:“We intend to build Allozyne into a leading biotechnology company, which will use its substitution mutagenesis and site-specific modification technologies to develop protein therapeutics with improved safety and efficacy profiles.”
Allozyne will be the third company to graduate from Accelerator and raise a significant Series B round of financing. Previous Accelerator graduate VLST Corporation raised $55M in May of 2006, and Spaltudaq Corporation raised $29M in March of 2007. Carl Weissman, President and CEO of Accelerator and Venture Partner with OVP, added, “Allozyne is a fantastic story, a broad platform technology that is rapidly generating high-value, low-risk, product opportunities. The steady guidance of Michael Steinmetz as Chairman combined with the talents and energy of Meenu Chhabra as CEO will balance perfectly with the Allozyne team.”
Allozyne, Inc., is a privately held biotechnology company focused on the development and manufacture of protein therapeutics. These technologies will enable the company to improve the efficacy of protein-based therapeutics. This is achieved by applying a rapid and consistent approach to specifically modifying recombinant proteins, and has broad utility in developing improved therapeutic proteins including monoclonal antibodies.
About MPM Capital
MPM Capital L.P. is a global investment management firm focused solely on life sciences investing. One of the largest investment management firms dedicated to the life sciences sector, MPM Capital has offices in Boston, San Francisco and New York City. MPM’s portfolio ranges from start-ups to large capitalization public companies, with a primary focus on biopharmaceutical and medical device companies nearing commercialization of products or those companies that already offer product-driven opportunities. The firm manages over $2.5 billion in assets through the MPM BioVentures Family of venture capital funds and the MPM BioEquities public market fund.
About Accelerator Corporation
Accelerator Corporation, founded in 2003, is a privately held biotechnology investment and development company located in Seattle, Washington, USA. The company is building the next generation of life-enhancing biotechnology companies by providing the resources critical to accelerating the development of nascent leading-edge biotechnologies. These key resources, provided by global life science leaders -- Amgen Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners, MPM Capital, OVP Venture Partners, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc., WRF Capital, and the Institute for Systems Biology -- include committed capital from top-tier venture capital firms, state-of-the-art facilities, world-class scientific and technical expertise and support, and experienced biotechnology start-up business management and support.
About Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.
Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE:ARE), Landlord and Developer of Choice to the Life Science Industry®, the largest owner, cluster developer and pre-eminent first-in-class international real estate investment trust focused principally on the ownership, operation, management, redevelopment, selective development and acquisition of properties containing office/laboratory space. Alexandria is the leading provider of real estate to the life science industry, and has an outstanding ten-year track record as a NYSE-listed company, with an approximate $5.2 billion total market capitalization (as of June 30, 2007). Alexandria provides high-quality real estate, technical infrastructure, services and capital to the broad and diverse life science sector. Client tenants include institutional (universities and independent not-for-profit institutions), pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, life science product, service, biodefense and translational medicine entities, as well as governmental agencies. Alexandria’s international operating platform is based on the principle of “clustering”, with assets and operations strategically located in key life science hub markets.
About Amgen Ventures
Amgen Ventures was formed in 2004 to provide emerging biotechnology companies with resources to develop pioneering discoveries focused on human therapeutics. Amgen Ventures reflects Amgen’s commitment to helping patients through cutting-edge science and its desire to transform science through innovation. As an important component of Amgen’s overall outreach strategy, Amgen Ventures invests in early-stage biotechnology companies focused on discovering and developing human therapeutics. The fund offers early-stage companies access to Amgen’s extensive capabilities while providing Amgen with insight into external research innovations that may pave the way for future collaborations.
About ARCH Venture Partners
ARCH Venture Partners is a premier provider of seed and early-stage venture capital for technology firms. Over the last 20 years, ARCH has co-founded or led the seed round for more than 120 new ventures -- with 7 funds and $1.4 billion under management. ARCH enjoys special recognition as a leader in the successful commercialization of technologies developed at academic research institutions and national laboratories. Notable biotechnology companies where ARCH was an early or founding investor are: Aviron, Illumina, Alnylam, Array Biopharma, deCode Genetics, Xenoport, Trubion Pharmaceuticals, Ikaria, GenVec, IDUN Pharmaceuticals, Neurogesx, and Caliper Life Sciences, among others.
About OVP Venture Partners
For over 24 years, OVP Venture Partners has led the drive into new, high-growth technology markets in the Pacific Northwest. OVP’s record of 52 liquidity events -- including 22 IPOs -- leads the region. OVP has over $750 million in capital under management and is currently investing its seventh fund. The firm concentrates on opportunities at the intersection of technology’s next big waves and the foundational strengths native to the region. OVP has offices in Seattle, WA, and Portland, OR, and focuses on investments in communications, software, security, semiconductors, digital biology, and nanotechnology.
SOURCE: Allozyne, Inc.
To read more People News articles, click here.