Sterix raises #8m from VC quartet

Investee Company – Sterix Limited (UK)

Investee Company Business Type – Biopharmaceutical research and development company

Type of Financing – Expansion, development

Equity Providers – Avlar BioVentures, 3i, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, Quester Capital Management

Equity Leader (Individual) – David Gough, Avlar BioVentures

Debt Providers – N/A

Debt Type – N/A

Debt Leader (Individual) – N/A

Equity Amount – £8 million

Total Deal Value – £8 million

Other Advisors – N/A

Comments – Oxford-based Sterix Limited has raised £8 million from Avlar BioVentures, 3i, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation and Quester Capital Management. Cambridge biotech and healthcare firm Avlar led the investment.

Sterix Limited was formed in 1998 and has a number of research programmes including the design of combined aromatase-sulphatase inhibitors; small molecule angiogenesis inhibitors; and a novel drug delivery system.

The company was formed to advance research from a steroid biology research group at St Mary’s Hospital, London, and a medicinal chemistry group at the University of Bath. The current focus of Sterix has been on the design and discovery of novel steroid derivatives and small molecule drugs that modulate steroid metabolism.

Following this current investment the company is looking to expand existing research and development programmes. Part of that expansion will involve taking its second product, Oncomate, a steroid sulphatase inhibitor, into clinical development for the treatment of breast cancer.

Phase I clinical studies have just completed for the company’s initial product, Oestramate, which is the first synthetic hepatic-sparing oestrogen derivative to enter clinical development and is now licensed to a leading European pharmaceutical company.

David Gough, executive director of Avlar BioVentures, said: “Sterix is a high class operation and a credit to its managers and founding Universities. It is highly unusual for a company at such an early stage to have one product in the clinic and such a strong development pipeline.”

Avlar’s specialist biotechnology fund, Avlar BioVentures Fund I, was launched in March 1999 and has invested in 10 biotechnology companies, including: Amura, Gendaq, De Novo Pharmaceuticals and Paradigm Therapeutics.