Mega bioinformatics funding

Inpharmatica, a UK drug discovery company, has raised GBP31.25 million. Dresdner Kleinwort Capital, which led the round, believes it is the largest financing for a bioinformatics company anywhere in the world this year. New investors include Abingworth Management, Advent Venture Partners, Gilde Investment, and Vertex Management. 3i, Unibio Ltd and GIMV also participated with Genentech Inc making a strategic investment.

Inpharmatica is based on two proprietary technology platforms, Biopendium and Chematica, which look at the relationship between the structure and function of proteins. The platforms assess whether a protein is a suitable drug target by predicting its function and whether a drug molecule can be discovered for it. Researchers at companies such as Pfizer, Genetech and Arrow Therapeutics, which have licences to access these products, are able to progress drug discovery. As well as focusing on the market for genome tools and databases Inpharmatica is also directly applying its technology to drug discovery. Daniel Green, director of Dresdner Kleinwort Capital’s life science team, said: “Inpharmatica combines an ability to analyse the latest discoveries in genomics with a determination to translate that knowledge into new medicines.”

Based on research carried out at University College London the company was founded in 1998 and received a first round of GBP3 million from 3i and GIMV in March 1999. Inpharmatica now employs 70 people in London. The current VC funding is likely to be the final round before the company seeks a listing. This round will be used to establish in-house experimental drug discovery capabilities, extend Inpharmatica’s dual-processor Linux cluster computer farm and develop its Biopendium and Chematica platforms.

SJ Berwin acted for the investors and CSFB led the fund raising.