Micromet gets 4th round

German drug development company Micromet secured euro40 million in an oversubscribed fourth round of venture funding. Advent International led a syndicate of life science investors.

New investors include funds advised by Medical Strategy (DG Lux Lacuna Apo Biotech, Medical Biohe@lth-Trends, PHARMAw/HEALTH), the Wellcome Trust and the International Biotechnology Trust IBT. Previous investors Atlas Venture, Schroder Ventures, 3i and Abingworth also participated.

The new financing will be used to further the clinical development of the company’s lead compounds, moving towards commercialisation. The company will expand and mature its pipeline of new drug candidates and broaden its platform of antibody derivatives. Viscardi advised on the deal.

Micromet’s technology is based on research carried out by Professor Gert Riethmueller at Munich University’s Institute for Immunology. The company designs and develops drugs based on antibodies for the treatment of cancer, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Two products are now approaching clinical phase I trials for treatment of adenocarcinomas and blood cancers.

Micromet won the support of VCs in 1998 when it received DM14 million from 3i, Atlas Venture and Schroder Ventures. A further DM21 million was pledged by Schroder Ventures, Atlas Venture, 3i and Abingworth in April of last year. It was Abingworth’s first German biotech investment.

Jerry Benjamin, director of Advent Venture Partners, said: “The market for therapeutic antibodies has been worth close to $3 billion in 2000 and will grow significantly. As Micromet has one of the broadest and most innovative technology platforms we have come across, it is well positioned in this marketplace.”

Jerry Benjamin of Advent Venture Partners will be joining John Berriman of Abingworth, Michael Carter of Schroder Ventures and Rob Zegelaar of Atlas Venture on Micromet’s supervisory board.