Bioscience fund GBS invests US$6m in Xenome

Biopharmaceutical company Xenome Limited today announced it has received a convertible note placement of US$6 million from GBS Venture Partners, a Melbourne based life sciences specialist that invests in unlisted and listed high growth companies involved in innovative technologies.

Xenome is developing peptide drugs for improved treatments in the fields of pain and inflammation. Pain is a large and unmet market and an area of growing importance as a result of an aging population.

Xen2174 is Xenome's lead drug candidate and has recently completed safety testing in cancer patients with severe pain; results are to be announced next month. Later this year Xenome will initiate a phase II clinical trial to determine the safety and efficacy of Xen2174 in post-surgical pain.

The GBS investment reflects the increased interest that Xenome has attracted over the past year. In that period it has completed enrolment into the Xen2174 cancer pain study; executed a discovery partnership with Amylin Pharmaceuticals; raised over $15M from existing and new investors; and made major changes to its management team, including the appointment of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Ian Nisbet, Chief Medical Officer Dr Wendy Martin and other VP level appointments.

The US$6 million investment will assist Xenome to progress its clinical trial program, advance other development programs, and prepare the company for an Initial Public Offering anticipated for 2009. Additionally, GBS has agreed to invest further funds as a cornerstone investor in the IPO.

Dr Ian Nisbet, CEO of Xenome said: "We are delighted that GBS has made this significant investment in Xenome. GBS brings substantial credibility in the Australian and US capital markets and provides a broad network of clinical, regulatory, business development and investor connections.

"We look forward to working with GBS as we move into the next phase of development with Xen2174. The fundraising will also enable us to advance preclinical programs directed towards other potential treatments for pain and inflammation," continued Dr Nisbet.

Dr Andrew Baker, Associate Director of GBS Ventures added: "Xenome is developing new drugs that could have a significant impact on the quality of life of people suffering the debilitating effects of chronic or acute pain. These drugs have the potential to provide improved efficacy and fewer side effects than existing pain treatments. They are also non-addictive, which is a significant benefit over many current drugs, where drug-dependency and abuse are major problems."

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