Deal round-up 23/07/02

Isis exits Bonmarché; Apax leads Newron Pharmaceuticals second round; VC firms back CBT growth

Isis exits Bonmarché

Isis has completed the sale of its 20 per cent interest in UK clothes retailer Bonmarché as part of a transaction that values the company at £75m.

Isis invested £7.3m in Bonmarché in July 2001 in return for a 20 per cent equity stake. Bonmarché’s acquisition by The Peacock Group will provide Isis with a return of £17.4m, comprising £12.8m in cash and £4.6m in shares.

Bonmarché operates 256 stores across the UK and reported turnover for 2001 of £128.5m and pre-tax profits of £7.6m. The combined company will become the UK’s second largest discount retailer behind Matalan.

Apax leads Newron Pharmaceuticals second round

Newron Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage company focusing on CNS therapies, announced today the final closing of a E25m financing after receiving an additional E6.5m from Apax Partners. Other participants in this round include 3i and Atlas Ventures.

Newron was founded in 1999 with seed financing from 3i Group. To date Newron has raised a total of E38.5m from venture capital sources and government grants. The latest financing will fund the ongoing clinical evaluation of Newron's lead compound, safinamide, for the treatment of epilepsy and Parkinson's disease.

VC firms back CBT growth

Cambridge Biotechnology (CBT) has secured a £6m first round financing from The Cambridge Gateway Fund, Merlin Biosciences, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation and Northern Venture Managers.

The investment will be used by CBT to develop the company's program in the discovery and development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of pain and obesity, and in the identification of novel drug targets. The company says it has already identified the scope and timing of second round financing.