Graffinity Pharmaceutical Design

Graffinity Pharmaceutical Designs of Germany has completed a euro30.6 million pre-IPO fundraising round from a syndicate led by Merlin Biosciences. While the company has yet to set a date, it plans to list in around two years, most likely in Frankfurt. Graffinity Pharmaceutical Designs has already received first and second round financing.

Syndicate lead in this round, Merlin Biosciences, which invested some euro7.7 million, is joined by Oxford Bioscience Partners, Dow Chemical Company and GIMV. All four are new investors in the company and join Graffinity’s existing backers in providing funds. They are TechnoStart, GBP1 Group, Heildelberg Innovation and tbg Technologie Beteiligungs-Gesellschaft mbH der Deutschen Ausgleichsbank.

TechnoStart led the company’s second round of finance, raising euro30.7 million, and was also instrumental in the first round.

Graffinity is a biotechnology company with an integrated proteomics approach, addressing the challenges of post-genomic era for smarter and more efficient drug discovery and development. Its technology platform integrates chemical microarrays and a novel label free methodology that allows the standardised analysis of proteins with numerous small organic molecules. Graffinity’s proprietary approach to compound optimisation is know as Rapid Array Informed Structure Evolution (RAISE), providing a next generation beyond high throughput screening efforts (HTS).

CEO of Graffinity, Dr Dirk Vetter, said: “We plan to use the financing to enable rapid market entry and penetration, as well as the industrialisation of our core technology platform.”

Graffinity’s first round of financing was completed during its first year of business in 1998. Investments came from TechnoStart Ventures, 3i Group, Heidelberg Innovation BioScience Venture, with additional support from the German Federal Ministry of Science (BMBF) in the form of a research grant. Seed financing came from TechnoStart and Technologie Beteiligungs Gesellschaft.

Heildelberg has a strong biotech community with a growing cluster of companies such as the German Centre for Cancer Research (DKFZ), the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and the University of Heidelberg.