Lorantis Receives Financing Led by JPMorgan Partners; Emerging UK Life Sciences Company Receives 11.5 Million Pounds Sterling

Apr 20, 2001, 01:00 ET from Lorantis Limited

    LONDON, April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Lorantis, an emerging immunology drug
 discovery company, announced today the closing of an 11.5 million pounds
 (US$16.5 million) second round financing led by JPMorgan Partners.  New
 investor Quester Capital Management, as well as existing shareholders
 Abingworth Management and Schroder Ventures Life Sciences join JPMorgan
 Partners in this round of financing.  The capital raised will be used for
 continued innovative drug discovery and development within a field of
 immunology called tolerance, a fundamental process in the body's defence
 mechanisms, with immense therapeutic potential.
     Dr. Mark Bodmer, CEO of Lorantis, said:  "Lorantis has an enormous
 scientific and commercial opportunity to create new medicines.  The ability to
 deal with the causes of immunological diseases rather than suppressing the
 whole of the immune system will provide great benefit to patients.  We are
 delighted to have the support of high quality life sciences investors,
 JPMorgan Partners, Schroders, Abingworth, and Quester, in this financing
 round.  Their experience and contacts within the global life sciences area
 will be extremely valuable as we build our Company."
     Lorantis scientists have found that T-cell function in the immune response
 is controlled by a cell surface receptor called Notch.  In the absence of a
 signal from this receptor, T-cells are activated to attack the antigen
 presented by antigen presenting cells (APCs).  However, when Notch ligand is
 present on APCs, the attacking T-cells evolve into regulatory T-cells (Treg).
 These regulatory T-cells program the immune response to allow the body to
 tolerate that specific antigen.  Lorantis is developing novel therapeutics
 based on Notch and its associated signaling pathways.
     Philip Rattle, Director at JPMorgan Partners, said:  "Lorantis is a
 leading company in the field of innovative drug development activities based
 on the immune system.  Through Lorantis' strong management team, we are
 confident about the potential to enter a promising new field of life sciences
 research activity to address large unmet market needs.  JPMorgan Partners'
 global network and expertise within life sciences will help us support
 Lorantis in developing its leading edge technology and commercial contact
 base."
 
     Established in 1998, Lorantis is discovering and developing breakthrough
 products for the treatment of immunological and inflammatory diseases based on
 the emerging field of antigen-specific tolerance.  The company's products are
 derived from the discovery of a new set of biochemical signaling pathways that
 regulate the action of T-cells.  These discoveries will allow Lorantis to
 build a portfolio of novel drugs with the ability to selectively treat a broad
 range of disorders, including allergy, asthma, autoimmune diseases and
 transplant rejection.  Supporting this product portfolio will be a continuous
 supply of novel targets discovered by a functional genomics platform based on
 these new insights to regulation of the immune system.  Lorantis is based in
 Cambridge, UK.
 
     Notes
     JPMorgan Partners, formerly Chase Capital Partners, is a global
 partnership with over $24 billion in assets under management.  It is a leading
 provider of private equity and has closed over 1,600 individual transactions
 since its inception in 1984, with more than 120 in life sciences and
 healthcare.  JPMorgan Partners has more than 160 investment professionals in
 eight offices throughout the world.  The European offices are located in
 London and Munich.  Recent European life sciences investments include IsoTis
 N.V. and Renovo Limited.  JPMorgan Partners' primary limited partner is J.P.
 Morgan Chase & Co., one of the largest financial institutions in the world.
 For additional information, please visit www.jpmorganpartners.com .
 
     Abingworth was founded in 1973 and is a key player among life science
 venture capital investors on both sides of the Atlantic.  Specialising in
 early-stage life science and biomedical companies, Abingworth has funds under
 management of some $250 million.  The company has backed more than 50 life
 science firms, most of which have gone public or been acquired.  Within this
 field, Abingworth's management team has investment experience in a wide
 variety of areas including genomics, structural biology, chemistry,
 neuroscience, immunology, gene therapy, virology, cell biology and
 developmental biology.  Since its formation in 1973, Abingworth has raised
 nine funds, four of which are entirely dedicated to life sciences.
 
     Quester, founded in 1984, is an independent venture capital company
 specialising in unquoted growth companies.  Quester raises funds from
 institutions and individuals and has more than $450 million under management.
 The company focuses particularly on sectors, such as, healthcare, life
 sciences, application software, enabling technology businesses,
 semiconductors, optical networking and new materials.  Quester manages:
 institutional venture capital funds supported by international investors; an
 e-commerce fund for a major insurance group; the Isis College Fund, focused on
 technology companies emerging from the University of Oxford; a number of
 specialist University linked seed funds; and four Venture Capital Trusts.  For
 additional information, please visit the website at: www.quester.co.uk .
 
     Schroder Ventures has a dedicated life sciences team in Europe and the US
 and is uniquely positioned to provide both venture capital and large
 acquisition finance.  In addition to two specialist private equity life
 sciences funds, Schroder Ventures has recently taken over the investment
 advisory contract to the UK investment trust -- International Biotechnology
 Trust, giving a combined total of over $600m assets under management.
 
     Previous investments include:
     Chiroscience plc:            Biotechnology drug development
     Hexagen plc:                 Human genomics company
     Leica Microsystems GmbH:     Microscope manufacture and sales
     Metris Therapeutics Ltd:     Women's health company
     Micromet GmbH:               Bispecific antibody drug development
     Shire plc:                   Pharmaceutical development and sales
 
 

SOURCE Lorantis Limited
    LONDON, April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Lorantis, an emerging immunology drug
 discovery company, announced today the closing of an 11.5 million pounds
 (US$16.5 million) second round financing led by JPMorgan Partners.  New
 investor Quester Capital Management, as well as existing shareholders
 Abingworth Management and Schroder Ventures Life Sciences join JPMorgan
 Partners in this round of financing.  The capital raised will be used for
 continued innovative drug discovery and development within a field of
 immunology called tolerance, a fundamental process in the body's defence
 mechanisms, with immense therapeutic potential.
     Dr. Mark Bodmer, CEO of Lorantis, said:  "Lorantis has an enormous
 scientific and commercial opportunity to create new medicines.  The ability to
 deal with the causes of immunological diseases rather than suppressing the
 whole of the immune system will provide great benefit to patients.  We are
 delighted to have the support of high quality life sciences investors,
 JPMorgan Partners, Schroders, Abingworth, and Quester, in this financing
 round.  Their experience and contacts within the global life sciences area
 will be extremely valuable as we build our Company."
     Lorantis scientists have found that T-cell function in the immune response
 is controlled by a cell surface receptor called Notch.  In the absence of a
 signal from this receptor, T-cells are activated to attack the antigen
 presented by antigen presenting cells (APCs).  However, when Notch ligand is
 present on APCs, the attacking T-cells evolve into regulatory T-cells (Treg).
 These regulatory T-cells program the immune response to allow the body to
 tolerate that specific antigen.  Lorantis is developing novel therapeutics
 based on Notch and its associated signaling pathways.
     Philip Rattle, Director at JPMorgan Partners, said:  "Lorantis is a
 leading company in the field of innovative drug development activities based
 on the immune system.  Through Lorantis' strong management team, we are
 confident about the potential to enter a promising new field of life sciences
 research activity to address large unmet market needs.  JPMorgan Partners'
 global network and expertise within life sciences will help us support
 Lorantis in developing its leading edge technology and commercial contact
 base."
 
     Established in 1998, Lorantis is discovering and developing breakthrough
 products for the treatment of immunological and inflammatory diseases based on
 the emerging field of antigen-specific tolerance.  The company's products are
 derived from the discovery of a new set of biochemical signaling pathways that
 regulate the action of T-cells.  These discoveries will allow Lorantis to
 build a portfolio of novel drugs with the ability to selectively treat a broad
 range of disorders, including allergy, asthma, autoimmune diseases and
 transplant rejection.  Supporting this product portfolio will be a continuous
 supply of novel targets discovered by a functional genomics platform based on
 these new insights to regulation of the immune system.  Lorantis is based in
 Cambridge, UK.
 
     Notes
     JPMorgan Partners, formerly Chase Capital Partners, is a global
 partnership with over $24 billion in assets under management.  It is a leading
 provider of private equity and has closed over 1,600 individual transactions
 since its inception in 1984, with more than 120 in life sciences and
 healthcare.  JPMorgan Partners has more than 160 investment professionals in
 eight offices throughout the world.  The European offices are located in
 London and Munich.  Recent European life sciences investments include IsoTis
 N.V. and Renovo Limited.  JPMorgan Partners' primary limited partner is J.P.
 Morgan Chase & Co., one of the largest financial institutions in the world.
 For additional information, please visit www.jpmorganpartners.com .
 
     Abingworth was founded in 1973 and is a key player among life science
 venture capital investors on both sides of the Atlantic.  Specialising in
 early-stage life science and biomedical companies, Abingworth has funds under
 management of some $250 million.  The company has backed more than 50 life
 science firms, most of which have gone public or been acquired.  Within this
 field, Abingworth's management team has investment experience in a wide
 variety of areas including genomics, structural biology, chemistry,
 neuroscience, immunology, gene therapy, virology, cell biology and
 developmental biology.  Since its formation in 1973, Abingworth has raised
 nine funds, four of which are entirely dedicated to life sciences.
 
     Quester, founded in 1984, is an independent venture capital company
 specialising in unquoted growth companies.  Quester raises funds from
 institutions and individuals and has more than $450 million under management.
 The company focuses particularly on sectors, such as, healthcare, life
 sciences, application software, enabling technology businesses,
 semiconductors, optical networking and new materials.  Quester manages:
 institutional venture capital funds supported by international investors; an
 e-commerce fund for a major insurance group; the Isis College Fund, focused on
 technology companies emerging from the University of Oxford; a number of
 specialist University linked seed funds; and four Venture Capital Trusts.  For
 additional information, please visit the website at: www.quester.co.uk .
 
     Schroder Ventures has a dedicated life sciences team in Europe and the US
 and is uniquely positioned to provide both venture capital and large
 acquisition finance.  In addition to two specialist private equity life
 sciences funds, Schroder Ventures has recently taken over the investment
 advisory contract to the UK investment trust -- International Biotechnology
 Trust, giving a combined total of over $600m assets under management.
 
     Previous investments include:
     Chiroscience plc:            Biotechnology drug development
     Hexagen plc:                 Human genomics company
     Leica Microsystems GmbH:     Microscope manufacture and sales
     Metris Therapeutics Ltd:     Women's health company
     Micromet GmbH:               Bispecific antibody drug development
     Shire plc:                   Pharmaceutical development and sales
 
 SOURCE  Lorantis Limited