More funding for igeneon

igeneon, an Austrian biotech developing cancer treatments, has raised EURO30 million in its second round of funding. Altogether nine investors have contributed to this private placement, reportedly Austria’s largest biotech VC round to date. The new capital will be used to fund research and clinical development for igeneon’s five cancer immunotherapies.

The company was founded in 1999 and facilitated by public funding from several institutions, including the European Recovery Programme. Igeneon also received seed capital from the Novartis Venture Fund, 3i Austria (formerly Bank Austria TVF and 3i Germany (formerly Technologieholding) in 1999. The company is currently situated in its own building on the Novartis Campus in Vienna, Austria.

Its main focus is the development of vaccines that prevent the spread of metastases (secondary cancerous growths). The company currently has two products at the clinical development stage, with a further one or two set to follow by the end of the year. According to one of the company’s investors, the potential annual market for innovative cancer therapies is more than $7 billion.

The previous principal investors, 3i and Novartis, also led the second round, which included commitments from Deutsche Venture Capital, BdW – a subsidiary of Dresdner Bank, CAPEXIT, CBG Commerz Beteiligungsgesellschaft, DB Investor, Horizonte Venture Fund and Invest Equity. Jrg Neerman, partner at Deutsche Venture Capital, will join the supervisory board of igeneon.

The new capital will be used to continue product development, mainly financing clinical tests and proprietary technology platforms relating to immunological techniques and vaccination. A further financing round will take the form of an IPO and will take place, at the earliest, in late 2002. IPO proceeds are planned to provide sufficient funding at least until break-even.