AstraZeneca and Nomura Phase4 Ventures Announce Creation of New Company “Albireo”

AstraZeneca and Nomura Phase4 Ventures Announce Creation of New Company “Albireo”

LONDON, Feb. 14, 2008-AstraZeneca and Nomura Phase4 Ventures today announced the signing of a deal to form Albireo, a company focused on developing new treatments for gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. 

Albireo, based in Gothenburg, Sweden, has secured one clinical and a number of pre-clinical GI programmes from AstraZeneca as well as several researchers with extensive experience in AstraZeneca’s GI Research Area. The spinout is a result of AstraZeneca’s previously announced strategic decision to concentrate on Nexium® and internal GI research focussed on Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

Albireo will be financed by a syndicate of growth capital firms, led by Nomura Phase4 Ventures, and joined by TVM Capital and Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, all specialist investors in the healthcare markets. The company has raised $27 million in its first closing and anticipates receiving up to $40m in a Series A financing round. AstraZeneca retains a significant minority equity interest as well as a seat on the Albireo board alongside representatives from TVM Capital and Nomura Phase4 Ventures.

“Albireo represents an exciting opportunity for AstraZeneca to deliver value for patients and our shareholders,” said John Goddard, Senior Vice President, AstraZeneca Strategic Planning and Business Development. “AstraZeneca is committed to creating innovative partnerships and deal structures that realise the full potential of our science. Nomura Phase4 Ventures and its syndicate are leading healthcare investors with proven success in growing biotechnology companies.”

Commenting on the financing, Dr Denise Pollard-Knight, Managing Director, Nomura Phase4 Ventures said, “Albireo represents a compelling investment story. We are all excited about the programmes being inherited from AstraZeneca and by the experience of the team in developing innovative drugs for GI disorders.”

“The financing will allow us to accelerate the development of a strong pipeline and build on the strength of the core team. I am looking forward to participating in Albireo’s future growth,” said David Chiswell, Albireo’s Executive Chairman.

About AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in research, development, manufacturing and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and supplier for healthcare services. AstraZeneca is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of US $29.55 billion and is a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infection product sales. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global) as well as the FTSE4Good Index.

About Albireo
Albireo is a Swedish biotechnology company with broad experience in the GI area and a pipeline of programmes for underserved markets. Spun off from AstraZeneca, the Albireo team has extensive links to industry and academia, as well as key scientific and clinical communities. Albireo is focused on developing novel therapies that address unmet medical needs in the GI area. Albireo is based in Gothenburg, Sweden. For further information about Albireo, please visit www.albireopharma.com.

About Nomura Phase4 Ventures
Nomura Phase4 Ventures is an active global life science investor whose mission is to provide a premium rate of return for investors by creating, identifying and investing in development stage healthcare companies through its dedicated funds. In operation since 1999, Nomura Phase4 Ventures is an experienced lead investor, specialising in structuring spinouts, with the ability to attract high-quality syndicate investors. It has a solid portfolio of investments in biopharma, specialty pharmaceutical and medical device companies in the US and Europe. Nomura Phase4 Ventures is part of the Nomura Group, a leading financial services group and the preeminent Asian-based investment bank with worldwide reach. For further information about Nomura Phase4 Ventures, please visit www.nomura.com/npv.

About TVM Capital
TVM Capital funds have made investments in more than 235 technology and life science companies. Over the life of the firm, TVM Capital has developed specialized, focused teams and dedicated funds to serve high-growth target markets. The TVM Capital investment strategy is to create global businesses that enjoy worldwide access to science, technology, management talent and capital, and to develop them into significant players in their markets. More than 50 TVM Capital backed companies have gone public on European or US stock exchanges. Today, TVM Capital is actively invested in 70 companies, including three growth capital investments in specialty pharmaceutical companies from its current fund. For more information please visit: www.tvm-capital.com.

About SWIP
Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) is one of Europe’s largest asset management companies and part of the Lloyds TSB Group. SWIP managed funds worth £97.6bn (as at 31 December 2007), which are invested in all major asset classes, including domestic and overseas equities, property, bonds and cash. Under its own name and in partnership with overseas-based organisations, SWIP has a physical presence that stretches around the world. SWIP’s forward looking approach combines the strength of its investment team with some of the most advanced technology used in asset management today. For further information, please visit www.swip.com.

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