Atlas Genetics Ltd Completes £16.9 Million Series B Financing led by Novartis Venture Funds

BRISTOL, England, July 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

Funds to Accelerate Launch of Velox(TM) Point-of-care Test for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea

Atlas Genetics Ltd ("Atlas" or the "Company"), a diagnostic company developing ultra-rapid point-of-care tests for a range of infectious diseases, announces that it has raised GBP16.9 million from a syndicate of new and existing investors led by Novartis Venture Funds, and Consort Medical plc.

The new investors in this series B financing are Novartis Venture Funds, LSP (Life Sciences Partners), BB Biotech Ventures and Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation.

The GBP16.9 million investment, which will be drawn down over three years, will be used to accelerate the global launch of the Velox(TM) point-of-care products for Chlamydia and gonorrhoea. It will also be used for the development of other infectious disease tests and expand the immunoassay capability of the Velox(TM) system.

Velox(TM) is a highly novel molecular diagnostic system for the ultra-rapid diagnosis of a broad range of infectious diseases using either nucleic acid or immuno-assays. It is based on a patent-protected electrochemical sensor that combines speed and accuracy.

The Velox(TM) system will make it possible, for the first time, to carry out infectious disease tests in primary care clinics and GP surgeries that are as accurate as those carried out in hospital laboratories. This will help clinicians commence treatment promptly and ensure much improved compliance, particularly in the area of sexually transmitted diseases where a significant proportion of patients fail to return for test results or follow on treatment.

The newly announced financing follows a GBP1.5 million round in February 2011 supported by Consort Medical plc and other investors. The Company has been funded previously, and continues to be supported, by YFM Equity Partners, Braveheart Investment Group, Wyvern Asset Management, the Crescent Seedcorn Fund and private investors.

Dr John Clarkson, Chief Executive Officer of Atlas, commented: "We are delighted to welcome the new investors at this exciting time when the Company's first product, a test for the sexually transmitted disease Chlamydia, is being transferred to manufacture and the core capabilities of the sensor chemistry are being expanded. This investment syndicate led by Novartis Venture Funds brings a wealth of experience in the healthcare sector and an extensive network of contacts in the diagnostics industry."

Florent Gros, Managing Director, Novartis Venture Funds, commented: "Dr Clarkson and his team have accomplished quite an astonishing technical feat. We have searched hard and long for novel molecular diagnostic technologies and the Velox(TM) platform is a very ingenious solution to the key issues that have hindered the development of ultra rapid and highly sensitive point-of-care molecular diagnostic instrumentation. Combined with the ability to make immunoassay tests this makes for a diversified all-in-one diagnostic platform that will be commercialized around the end of 2012. We are very excited by the Company's prospects."