Ark raises GBP14.5m

Ark Therapeutics, the UK biotech company, has raised GBP14.5 million from a group of new and existing investors led by BankInvest of Denmark. This increases the company’s cash reserves to GBP25 million and will enable Ark Therapeutics to fund its research and development portfolio for the next couple of years. Venture capital funds re-investing in this placement include Biofund, Merlin Biosciences, Nomura International and TVM.

Ark Therapeutics focuses on the development of therapeutics designed to help solve clinical problems in areas such as circulatory system related diseases, complications following vascular surgery and chemotherapy programmes for cancer. It has five gene-based products in clinical development and a pipeline of earlier stage preclinical products. These are derived from its expertise in medical gene science and endothelial biology. The company plans to commercialise products through its targeted sales infrastructure and through collaboration agreements.

CEO of Ark Therapeutics, Dr Nigel Parker, said: “Our increased cash reserves will allow us to execute our plan to take the later stage programmes through final clinical development. In addition, they will allow us to start building the appropriate pre-marketing and business infrastructure to ensure successful commercialisation of our products in the US and Europe.”

The company was known as Eurogene until January this year when it acquired gene therapy company Oy Quattrogene (formerly Medigene Oy), based in Kuopio, Finland and renamed the merged businesses Ark Therapeutics. The company received seed funding of GBP250,000 from Merlin Biosciences in 1997 and a first round in February 1998 from the same investor. In April last year Ark Therapeutics raised GBP15 million from Merlin, Nomura International, TVM and a group of major Finnish institutions, led by Biofund.

Simultaneous to the completion of the company’s third round funding was the announcement that Ark Therapeutics’ Scandinavian drug targeting programme has been awarded a European Commission grant of EURO1.2 million. The grant will be used to fund a joint company and university research programme.