Avidex Limited raises £10m

The company set out to raise at least £7m and has closed the round at £10m which it says will fund the company well into 2002.

Advent Venture Partners has led a £10m round of funding for Avidex Limited, a spin-out from Oxford University's Institute of Molecular Medicine.

Advent Venture Partners invested £4m in the round. Shareholders including Quester Capital Management Limited on behalf of the Oxford Colleges’ Fund, and the Oxford Technology Venture Capital Trust plc, subscribed a further £2m.

Avidex was formed in 1999 to develop technology for the Institute of Molecular Medicine. The company was based within the University of Oxford until July 2000, when it moved to Milton Park, near Abingdon. The company’s technology may be applicable in many autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and multiple sclerosis, as well as certain cancers.

Avidex has also named James Noble, currently chairman of Avidex, as its chief executive. He has held non-executive board seats at a number of biotechnology companies, including Oxford GlycoSciences plc and Powderject Pharmaceuticals plc. Noble was previously finance director at British Biotech plc for six years and a director of Dresdner Kleinwort Benson Limited.

The company employs 17 staff and expects this number to rise to over 30 during 2001. Dr Bent Jakobsen, formerly head of the T cell group at the Institute of Molecular Medicine, has joined Avidex as chief scientist and Professor John Bell, Nuffield Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford, is deputy chairman.