LOS ANGELES, March 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- ImaginAb, Inc. a clinical-stage company developing in vivo imaging agents for Positron Emission Tomography (PET) based on antibody fragment technology, today announced the completion of a Series A financing – led by Novartis Venture Funds. The oversubscribed Series A round includes Merieux Developpement, Nextech Invest, Cycad Group and existing seed investor Momentum Biosciences. Novartis Venture Funds and Merieux Developpement will both appoint Directors as representatives of the Series A investors.
"This is an important growth financing event for ImaginAb because it augments financial resources from our rapidly expanding pharma companion diagnostics program and strategic NCI funding, to enable us to accelerate the clinical development of our cancer and immunology imaging programs," said Christian Behrenbruch, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of ImaginAb.
ImaginAb's technology enables antibodies to be re-engineered into smaller proteins (fragments) with fast kinetics suitable for diagnostic imaging, while maintaining target biospecificity. In this way true companion in vivo diagnostics can be rapidly developed that enable target expression to be profiled in tissues in a non-invasive, whole-body manner. The company has over a dozen development programs with global biopharma companies to develop companion diagnostic imaging agents to therapeutic antibody drugs (in Phase I to BLA), as well as an internal pipeline of proprietary imaging agents for unmet clinical needs – particularly for staging metastatic prostate and pancreatic cancer*.
"ImaginAb's strategy of harnessing the explosive growth in the antibody space to build an in vivo diagnostics program is best in class and has yielded product pipelines that will have major impact on the clinical management of cancer and autoimmune diseases," said Campbell Murray, M.D., Managing Director of Novartis Venture Funds. "The company also has the potential to profoundly change the way companion diagnostics are used in drug development and patient selection."
Founded in 2007 by UCLA Faculty (Drs. Robert Reiter, Anna Wu and Christian Behrenbruch), ImaginAb, Inc. is a biotechnology company specializing in the development of engineered antibody fragments for diagnostic imaging and novel therapeutic applications. The company has a significant pipeline of clinical products in development oriented towards unmet needs in cancer and immunology. ImaginAb is also developing a range of pre-clinical research reagents for use with microPET, microSPECT and optical imaging systems, and partners on a selective basis with biopharmaceutical companies to develop companion imaging agents for therapeutic antibody products. For more information, visit www.imaginab.com.
About Novartis Venture Funds
Founded in 1996, Novartis Venture Funds currently manage over $800 million in committed capital. As a financially driven corporate life science investor, the Novartis Venture Funds invest in those companies which have the potential to lead the next innovation wave in our core therapeutic fields or explore new business areas that will be critical to patient care. Since its formation, Novartis Venture Funds have invested in more than 70 companies in the biotech and medical device sectors. The Novartis Venture Funds' team of ten investment professionals located in Basel Switzerland and Cambridge, MA brings together extensive expertise in life sciences and venture capital. For more information, visit www.venturefund.novartis.com.
About Merieux Developpement:
Merieux Developpement is the healthcare investment company of Institut Merieux, a French industrial holding company dedicated to biology, which currently employs more than 10,000 people worldwide. Institut Merieux has majority ownership of bioMerieux (NYSE Euronext, BIM), Silliker, Transgene (NYSE Euronext, TNG) and ABL Inc. Merieux Developpement intends to invest up to euro 70 million as minority shareholder from 2010 to 2013 in the field of healthcare on a global basis, working alongside entrepreneurs and innovative companies whose products and services can bring genuine advances to the health of patients and consumers worldwide. For more information, visit: www.merieux-developpement.com.
About Nextech Invest
Nextech Invest is a global investment manager founded 1998 and located in Zurich, Switzerland. With its unique oncology-focused funds, Nextech Invest is a dedicated investor in leading oncology companies developing cancer drugs and diagnostics. Nextech Invest benefits from the support of an active and committed Scientific Advisory Board of highly influential oncology advisors, chaired by David Livingston, MD, deputy director at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Cancer Center. For more information, visit www.nextechinvest.com.
About Cycad Group
Cycad Group is a venture capital firm focused on investments in companies with enabling solutions, disruptive technologies and innovative products. We actively pursue investment opportunities in the life sciences, energy production, advanced materials and chemical processes. With experience investing in all phases of development, from start-up through PIPE transactions, Cycad Group seeks opportunities to work with exceptional entrepreneurs creating technology-driven businesses. For more information, visit: www.cycadvc.com.
About Momentum Biosciences
Momentum Fund 1, LLC is a seed stage investment fund managed by Momentum Biosciences, LLC. Momentum Biosciences was formed in 2007 by a team of entrepreneurial professors from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), to support early stage companies seeking to commercialize discoveries from UCLA, Caltech and other research institutions in the greater Los Angeles area. For more information, visit: www.momentum-biosciences.com.
*the products and services described in this press release have not attained regulatory approval for clinical use in USA or UK/EU.
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SOURCE ImaginAb, Inc.