Graffinity Pharmaceutical Design Announces Completion of Euro 30.6 Million Fundraising Round

Pre-IPO Funds Raised to Develop Next Generation Drug Discovery Technologies



Apr 18, 2001, 01:00 ET from Graffinity Pharmaceutical Design

    HEIDELBERG, Germany, April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Graffinity Pharmaceutical
 Design, today announced the completion of a Euro 30.6 million pre-IPO
 fundraising from an international syndicate led by Merlin Biosciences.
 Graffinity, based in Heidelberg, Germany, is a biotechnology company with an
 integrated chemical proteomics approach to address the novel challenges of the
 post-genomic era for smarter and more efficient drug discovery and
 development.
     The syndicate included new investors Merlin Biosciences, Oxford Bioscience
 Partners, The Dow Chemical Company and GIMV.  All of Graffinity's existing
 investors also committed further funds: TechnoStart, 3i Group plc, Heidelberg
 Innovation and tbg Technologie-Beteiligungs-Gesellschaft mbH der Deutschen
 Ausgleichsbank.
     Starting from the target gene, Graffinity's abilities range from protein
 expression to screening on chemical microarrays in a label-free binding
 format, to subsequent steps of rapid array-aided small molecule evolution for
 cost-effective discovery of new chemical entities.
     CEO of Graffinity, Dr. Dirk Vetter, commented: "We are delighted with the
 results of this financing round and the endorsement of our technology platform
 by this high profile international syndicate.  Our platform is based on
 chemical microarrays, label free imaging and our proprietary approach to
 compound optimisation known as rapid array-informed structure evolution
 (RAISE).  This integrated platform provides a next generation discovery
 process beyond HTS".
     "We plan to use this financing to enable rapid market entry and
 penetration, as well as the industrialisation of our core technology
 platform," he added.
     Mark Clement, Managing Director of Merlin Biosciences' European
 Activities, said:  "The rapid pace of technological advancement and high
 throughput screening efforts (HTS) has led to drug discovery challenges in
 itself.  The extensive number of targets uncovered by the human genome project
 as well the vast number of potential leads generated through combinatorial
 chemistry efforts has led to a bottleneck which needs to be addressed.
 Companies which offer a smarter and more efficient approach to drug discovery,
 or 'escalator' companies, have the potential to generate extensive value for
 big pharma and biotech partners as well as for their own in-house programmes.
     "Graffinity has a strong customer focus as well as a number of imminent
 deals with industry leaders.  They also have the ability to add value to other
 programmes as well as establish a proprietary position with in-house NCEs."
     Graffinity's RAISE technology holds several advantages over traditional
 HTS methods as it is based on the optimisation of fingerprint-derived active
 substructures instead of a slower, more time consuming method of synthesising
 ever increasing numbers of idealised drug-like molecules.  This process allows
 Graffinity to sample chemical space, far beyond the capacity of any other
 existing compound screening approach.
     Unlike most technology platform start-ups Graffinity was not established
 around an academic group.  Rather, the co-founders came together to take a
 fresh look at small molecule arrays and define what was needed to address
 screening and lead discovery needs, and then initiated a "from-scratch"
 technology development program.
 
     Graffinity is a German biotech company based in Heidelberg that has taken
 an innovative approach to drug discovery which will significantly speed up the
 identification of lead structures.  Graffinity's technology platform
 integrates chemical microarrays and a novel label-free methodology which
 allows the standardised analysis of proteins with numerous small organic
 molecules.  During the RAISE process molecules are further developed to
 interact selectively and with high affinity with the target protein.
 Graffinity is looking for long-term partnerships with pharmaceutical, biotech
 and agrochemical companies exploiting the full potential of its lead
 generating platform.
     For further information on Graffinity go to http://www.graffinity.com
 
 

SOURCE Graffinity Pharmaceutical Design
    HEIDELBERG, Germany, April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Graffinity Pharmaceutical
 Design, today announced the completion of a Euro 30.6 million pre-IPO
 fundraising from an international syndicate led by Merlin Biosciences.
 Graffinity, based in Heidelberg, Germany, is a biotechnology company with an
 integrated chemical proteomics approach to address the novel challenges of the
 post-genomic era for smarter and more efficient drug discovery and
 development.
     The syndicate included new investors Merlin Biosciences, Oxford Bioscience
 Partners, The Dow Chemical Company and GIMV.  All of Graffinity's existing
 investors also committed further funds: TechnoStart, 3i Group plc, Heidelberg
 Innovation and tbg Technologie-Beteiligungs-Gesellschaft mbH der Deutschen
 Ausgleichsbank.
     Starting from the target gene, Graffinity's abilities range from protein
 expression to screening on chemical microarrays in a label-free binding
 format, to subsequent steps of rapid array-aided small molecule evolution for
 cost-effective discovery of new chemical entities.
     CEO of Graffinity, Dr. Dirk Vetter, commented: "We are delighted with the
 results of this financing round and the endorsement of our technology platform
 by this high profile international syndicate.  Our platform is based on
 chemical microarrays, label free imaging and our proprietary approach to
 compound optimisation known as rapid array-informed structure evolution
 (RAISE).  This integrated platform provides a next generation discovery
 process beyond HTS".
     "We plan to use this financing to enable rapid market entry and
 penetration, as well as the industrialisation of our core technology
 platform," he added.
     Mark Clement, Managing Director of Merlin Biosciences' European
 Activities, said:  "The rapid pace of technological advancement and high
 throughput screening efforts (HTS) has led to drug discovery challenges in
 itself.  The extensive number of targets uncovered by the human genome project
 as well the vast number of potential leads generated through combinatorial
 chemistry efforts has led to a bottleneck which needs to be addressed.
 Companies which offer a smarter and more efficient approach to drug discovery,
 or 'escalator' companies, have the potential to generate extensive value for
 big pharma and biotech partners as well as for their own in-house programmes.
     "Graffinity has a strong customer focus as well as a number of imminent
 deals with industry leaders.  They also have the ability to add value to other
 programmes as well as establish a proprietary position with in-house NCEs."
     Graffinity's RAISE technology holds several advantages over traditional
 HTS methods as it is based on the optimisation of fingerprint-derived active
 substructures instead of a slower, more time consuming method of synthesising
 ever increasing numbers of idealised drug-like molecules.  This process allows
 Graffinity to sample chemical space, far beyond the capacity of any other
 existing compound screening approach.
     Unlike most technology platform start-ups Graffinity was not established
 around an academic group.  Rather, the co-founders came together to take a
 fresh look at small molecule arrays and define what was needed to address
 screening and lead discovery needs, and then initiated a "from-scratch"
 technology development program.
 
     Graffinity is a German biotech company based in Heidelberg that has taken
 an innovative approach to drug discovery which will significantly speed up the
 identification of lead structures.  Graffinity's technology platform
 integrates chemical microarrays and a novel label-free methodology which
 allows the standardised analysis of proteins with numerous small organic
 molecules.  During the RAISE process molecules are further developed to
 interact selectively and with high affinity with the target protein.
 Graffinity is looking for long-term partnerships with pharmaceutical, biotech
 and agrochemical companies exploiting the full potential of its lead
 generating platform.
     For further information on Graffinity go to http://www.graffinity.com
 
 SOURCE  Graffinity Pharmaceutical Design