Graffinity: pre-IPO finance from Merlin

Investee Company – Graffinity Pharmaceutical Design GmbH (Germany)

Investee Company Business Type – Develop chemical micro-array technology to tackle the challenges of protein profiling and post-genomic drug discovery.

Type of Financing – Pre-IPO

Equity Providers – Merlin Biosciences, Oxford Bioscience Partners, The Dow Chemical Company, GIMV, TechnoStart, 3i, Heidelberg Innovation and tbg Technologie-Beteiligungs-Gesellschaft mbH

Equity Leader (Individual) – Mark Clement

Debt Providers – N/A

Debt Type – N/A

Debt Leader (Individual) – N/A

Equity Amount – euro30.6 million

Total Deal Value – euro30.6 million

Other Advisors – K Legal advised Merlin

Comments – Merlin Biosciences Fund has led a euro30.6 million round of funding for Graffinity Pharmaceutical Design. The Merlin Bioscience Fund invested euro7.7 million in this pre-IPO financing round. The IPO is planned for the second half of 2002.

Merlin is a first time investor in Graffinity as was Oxford Bioscience Partners, The Dow Chemical Company and GIMV. Existing investors participating in this round include TechnoStart, 3i, Heidelberg Innovation and tbg Technologie-Beteiligungs-Gesellschaft mbH.

Biotechnology company Graffinity is based in Heidelberg, Germany, and has developed a technology platform based on chemical microarrays, label free imaging and its proprietary approach to compound optimisation known as rapid array-informed structure evolution (RAISE).

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

Equity leader in this investment Mark Clement, managing director of Merlin Biosciences’ European activities, said: “The rapid pace of technological advancement and high throughput screening efforts (HTS) has led to drug discovery challenges in itself. The extensive number of targets uncovered by the human genomeproject as well the vast number of potential leads generated through combinatorial chemistry efforts has led to a bottleneck which needs to be addressed. Companies which offer a smarter and more efficient approach to drug discovery, or ‘escalator’ companies, have the potential to generate extensive value for big pharma and biotech partners as well as for their own in-house programmes.”

This is the second investment of its kind in Germany announced today. DeveloGen AG, a functional genomics company, has completed a euro40 million private placement led by Dresdner Kleinwort Capital. Like Graffinity, DeveloGen has developed a technological platform to enhance biotechnology research although focusing on a different area.