GBP34m for Cyclacel’s 3rd round

In its third financing round the Dundee-based biotech company, Cyclacel has secured GBP34 million from a syndicate of international investors led by INVESCO Private Capital. Parag Saxena, managing director of INVESCO Private Capital, will join the company’s board of directors.

Since its foundation Cyclacel has raised GBP45.8 million to research and develop cancer treatments. The company is based on research initially carried out by Prof. David Lane at the University of Dundee into the biology underlying cancer, the control of the cell cycle.

The new capital will be used to fund the company’s operations for two years and to advance candidates from Cyclacel’s drug portfolio into clinical trials. This includes new therapeutics, such as Pimetic (CYC100) small molecules which mimic the function of natural cancer suppressing gene proteins. In March 2000, Cyclacel announced the creation of Polgen, a wholly owned division located in Cambridge. Spiro Rombotis, Cyclacel’s chief executive, said: “With one drug in the clinic, a pipeline of potential anti-cancer medicines emerging from our three drug discovery engines, and our Polgen gene target business, we are now well financed to take Cyclacel into its next phase of growth.” Funding will also be used to expand drug discovery and development capabilities.

Merlin Ventures, which provided seed finance and a first round of GBP2.5 million, and Cancer Research Campaign Technology founded the company with at the end of 1996.

In May 1999 Cyclacel attracted the attention of an extended investor group, receiving a further GBP5.3 million. New investors in this round included Dresdner Kleinwort Benson Limited (now Dresdner Kleinwort Capital), The Equitable Life Assurance Society, Merifin Capital NV, Northern Venture Trust PLC and Scottish Equity Partnership. A further GBP4 million was raised later that year from Brian Souter and Ann Gloag, founders of bus and train company, Stagecoach.

Investors returning for the third round include Dresdner Kleinwort Capital, Merifin Capital, Merlin Biosciences, Northern Ventures and Scottish Equity Partners. New participants are BankInvest Asset Management, Finsbury Life Sciences Investment Trust, GeneChem Management, Lloyds TSB Development Capital, Noble Grossart, Quester Capital Management, Singapore Economic Development Board and Vertex Management.