ESBATech Raises Additional CHF 23M (USD 22M), Extending Series B Venture Financing

2008-08-07 06:00:00

ESBATech Raises Additional CHF 23M (USD 22M), Extending Series B Venture Financing

     Positive Results to Date Drive Decision to Expand its Proprietary

                            Therapeutic Pipeline



    ZURICH, Switzerland, Aug. 7 /EMWNews/ -- ESBATech AG, a leading

developer of antibody fragment therapeutics, today announced that the

company has raised an additional CHF 23M (USD 22M, EUR 14M) in an extended

Series B venture round to expand its development pipeline. A global

syndicate of current investors participated in this round including SV Life

Sciences, Clarus Ventures, HBM BioVentures, HBM BioCapital, Novartis

Bioventures, BioMedinvest and VI Partners.



    This funding builds on the company's CHF 50M (USD 49M, EUR 31M) Series

B round, which closed in August 2006 and has enabled the company to move

its lead molecule, ESBA105, into clinical trials. ESBA105 is a single-chain

antibody fragment directed against TNF-alpha and is developed in ophthalmic

and additional inflammatory indications.



    Dominik Escher, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of ESBATech AG,

commented, "We are delighted to announce the expansion of our proprietary

pipeline with this additional financing. This includes building broad

franchises in ophthalmology, rheumatology and respiratory diseases for

ESBA105 and additional antibody fragments. Since the announcement of the

Series B financing in August 2006, ESBATech has made significant progress

in R&D, including the demonstration in animal models that high

concentrations of ESBA105 can be achieved in all segments of the eye with

topical delivery via eye drops. Furthermore, we have advanced our anti-VEGF

program to selection of a development candidate, ESBA903, a single-chain

antibody that shows very high potency, stability and solubility, and will

be developed for ophthalmic indications. Just like ESBA105, this antibody

fragment will be delivered via eye drops and thus represents a true

alternative to the current intra-vitreal injections of marketed anti-VEGF

inhibitors."



    Martin Gertsch, Chief Financial Officer of ESBATech AG, commented, "To

date, with this additional capital increase, the company has raised over

CHF 88M (USD 86M, EUR 54M) for the development of its antibody fragment

platform as well for the advancement of product candidates into the clinic.

With one ongoing Phase I clinical study, an additional clinical trial

pending commencement, and additional programs in and nearing formal

preclinical development, this is a time of growth for ESBATech. We are

building the company to be the leader in antibody fragment therapeutics."



    Graham Boulnois, Ph.D., Partner with SV Life Sciences, commented, "We

are delighted with the progress of ESBATech to date. The company's human

antibody fragment platform has delivered a growing pipeline of commercially

attractive new drugs based on stable antibody fragments derived from fully

human scaffolds. This is an exciting area and provides the company with

high value opportunities for partnering across multiple therapeutic areas."



    Michael Steinmetz, Ph.D., Managing Director of Clarus Ventures, added,

"ESBATech's unique approach to antibody fragments derived from fully human

scaffolds position them well in this highly exciting growth market. We look

forward to further clinical development of the company's product pipeline

and additional value generation."



    About ESBATech AG



    ESBATech AG is a Zurich, Switzerland-based, privately held drug

discovery and development company focused on advancing antibody fragments

for therapeutic applications. The company applies its proprietary, fully

human single-chain antibody frameworks to generate product candidates

against targets of clinical relevance. ESBATech is focused on delivering

high concentrations of its therapeutic antibody fragments to the targeted

sites, in combination with extremely low systemic load, in order to achieve

low risk of systemic drug reactions using topical and local delivery.



    In the first half of 2008, the company initiated a Phase I clinical

study of ESBA105 in ophthalmic indications. The study is being conducted as

a single and repeated dose escalation study in Switzerland and is designed

to evaluate the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetic profile of ESBA105

when delivered topically via eye drops in healthy volunteers. The company

expects to initiate an additional clinical study in the coming months.



    Current venture investors include SV Life Sciences, Clarus Ventures,

HBM BioVentures, HBM BioCapital, Novartis Bioventures, BioMedinvest and VI

Partners. For more information about ESBATech, please visit,

http://www.esbatech.com.





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