Micromet raises E40m in private placement

Advent Venture Partners led the placement which included previous investors Atlas Venture, Schroder Ventures, 3i and Abingworth.

Biotech company Micromet has raised E40m in a private placement from a syndicate of international life science investors.

Advent Venture Partners led the investment. New investors included funds advised by Medical Strategy, the Wellcome Trust and the International Biotechnology Trust IBT. Previous investors Atlas Venture, Schroder Ventures, 3i and Abingworth reinvested in the round.

Micromet designs and develops antibody-based drugs for treatment of cancer, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. The company was founded on the pioneering research at Munich University’s Institute for Immunology headed by Micromet’s co-founder Professor Gert Riethmueller. Fundamental to Micromet’s therapeutic strategy is the elimination of cells that play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of human diseases such as cancer, autoimmune and inflammatory disease by recruiting and activating immune effector cells. The company employs about 70 people and has already established a strong portfolio of drug candidates, two of which will enter clinical trials in 2001. The Company is located in Martinsried, Germany, one of Europe’s leading biotech centres.

The cash raised will fuel the clinical development of the company’s new drug candidates and will also be used to broaden its novel antibody derivatives.

Jerry Benjamin, director of Advent Venture Partners, who is joining the supervisory board of Micromet, said: “The market for therapeutic antibodies has been worth close to $3bn in 2000 and will grow significantly. As Micromet has one of the broadest and most innovative technology platforms we have come across, it is well positioned in this marketplace. Micromet is widely regarded as one of the best later stage biotechnology companies in Germany.”

Friedrich-Wilhelm Goebel from Viscardi AG, a financial advisor, commented: “I was quite impressed by the overwhelming response to this offering, despite highly volatile public markets. In these times of uncertainty investors are highly selective in their choices. However, the multiple oversubscription of this round demonstrates that companies with strong fundamentals in technology, pipeline and management seem to become even more attractive to experienced investors.”

Medical Strategy is an investment advisory company which specialises in healthcare. It was founded in 1992 by Dr. Michael Fischer, a pharma and biotech expert. Medical Strategy advises funds that invest in public biotech and partly also pharmaceutical companies with a particular focus on mid-sized US biotech companies with a differentiated product pipeline. These funds include the DG Lux Lacuna Apo Biotech, the Medical Biohe@lth-Trends and the PHARMAw/HEALTH. Medical Strategy advises funds with a total value of E450m.