Pharnext closes €4.8-million Series A funding round

Pharnext SAS, a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of innovative treatments based on Pleotherapy™ for severe neurological diseases, today announced that it had closed a €4.8-million Series A round of funding on June 3rd (corresponding to a company valuation of €45 million). Part of the fresh investment was provided by Pharnext's co-founding investor Truffle Capital, which remains the majority shareholder. The remaining were contributed by Aurinvest Capital 2, Financière Boscary and a group of some of France's best-known entrepreneurs - Charles Beigbeder (founder of Selftrade, Poweo, Audacia and AgroGeneration), Claude Darmon (former President of the CEGELEC group) and Olivier Fulconis (former Executive VP and Chief Marketing Officer at Converteam).

This round of fundraising will enable Pharnext to consider launching the first-in-man clinical trials of its Pleodrug™ in the treatment of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease before the end of 2010. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a chronic, severe, invalidating neuromuscular disease which affects 3 million people worldwide and for which there is no cure at present. The fundraising will also help initiate and/or continue in vitro and in vivo research programmes on the use of Pleodrugs™ in other serious pathologies: Alzheimer's disease, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, polycystic kidney disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, hyperlipidaemia and diabetes.

Pharnext has particularly solid financial foundations:

- a €2.5-million round of seed fundraising with Truffle Capital (December 2007).

- two agreements with the pharmaceutical group Ipsen, potentially worth up to €94 million in upfront and milestone payments (June 2009).

- an initial grant for work on Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease from Oséo, the French state innovation agency (2007).

- a grant from the French Muscular Dystrophy Association (AFM, 2009).

Pharnext has designed a novel, proprietary platform (Pleotherapy™) based on network pharmacology. The company's discovery engine identifies rational drug combinations (Pleodrugs™) made up of individual Pleocompounds™. This innovative approach could provide a solution to the ongoing and worrying decline in pharmaceutical pipeline productivity.

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