The Swedish company Biolipox is financed by HealthCap AB and Sofinnova Partners

Biolipox, the Stockholm-based biotechnology company, has just closed a financing round of nearly €5 million with investments from the Swedish venture capital fund HealthCap and Paris based Sofinnova Partners. Antoine Papiernik, General Partner with Sofinnova Partners, joins the board of Biolipox.

The company was formed in 2000 by two scientists, Professors Hans-Erik Claesson and Magnus Bjorkholm from the Karolinska Institute, and is specialized in the discovery and development of new therapeutic compounds for use in the treatment of respiratory diseases and other inflammatory pathologies.

Biolipox had received at the time of the company’s formation a first seed investment of €0.6 brought in by HealthCap. The current investment round is expected to finance the company’s research program through the end of 2002. Biolipox is working on a new metabolic pathway of arachidonic acid, one of the most important and efficient of the fatty acids, which are essential components of diet. The two metabolic pathways already identified have resulted in the development of such vital compounds as aspirin, Cox2 or leucotriene inhibitors. Bengt Samuelson, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work on prostaglandins and leucotrienes whilst in the same department of the Karolinska Institute, and who is currently the chairman of the Nobel Foundation, sits on the company’s board of directors.

This discovery could result in the development of more specific drugs with the potential to become blockbusters in the treatment of asthma and other inflammatory respiratory diseases. The pharmaceutical products market for the treatment of respiratory diseases (in particular asthma) was estimated at USD 8.5 billion in 1999. There is currently a considerable need for the development of new therapeutic compounds to be used for the acute or chronic treatment of asthma sufferers.

"The quality of the investors that are backing the company confirms the view that Biolipox is a good investment opportunity. The close relationship between the company, its managers, and the Karolinska Institute, which is considered a world-leader in respiratory pathologies, is a further illustration of the importance of the project developed by Biolipox" stated Dr Carl-Johan Daalsgard, MD PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Biolipox, who has worked many years at the Karolinska Institute and as a senior manager with the pharmaceuticals group Astra.

According to Antoine Papiernik, General Partner with Sofinnova Partners, "Biolipox has all the characteristics we look for when financing a start-up: a prestigious team from one of the best academic centers in the world, a discovery of fundamental importance with multiple applications, strong intellectual property rights, and solid financial backing capable of seeing the company through to realization of its plans. Biolipox is also our first investment in Sweden. Until now, we have invested successfully in the UK, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and of course France. Sweden now appears to us as a country where we can create major biopharmaceutical companies. Furthermore, we consider HealthCap as a top-tier investor in Nordic countries. We have previously worked with them in other company boards, and share similar investment strategies"

Sofinnova Partners, based in Paris since 1972, is a venture capital fund specialized in financing high-potential projects at an early stage of their development. Since its formation, it has supported companies in two specific sectors: life sciences and information technology. It is managed by seven partners and associates and has close to FRF 3 billion of funds under management. In the life sciences field, it favors investments related to bio-pharmacy and medical instrumentation and, notably, was a founder-investor in companies such as Genset, Cerep, NicOx, Actelion and NovusPharma. Sofinnova Partners has made 50 investments since 1996, of which 31 as the lead investor.

Contacts:

Antoine Papiernik General Partner Sofinnova Partners 17 rue de Surène 75008 Paris France Tel: 33 1 53 05 41 00 Fax: 33 1 53 05 41 29 Email: apapiernik@sofinnova.fr Web: http://sofinnova.social-unit.fr/
Carl-Johan Dalsgaard, CEO Biolipox AB, c/o Healthcap Sturegatan 34 Stockholm, Sweden Tel: 46 70 975 98 63

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