Celtic plots $1.5B equity funds to fuel biotech deals

Big Pharma's growing appetite for experimental biotech drugs has spurred the creation of two new funds calculated to profit on the trend. Celtic Pharma, a private equity group, is launching two new funds that will reportedly top $1.5 billion to invest in experimental biotech drugs that can be resold to Big Pharma companies scrambling for new drug prospects. One of the funds--based in the U.S. and led by Stephen Evans-Freke--is being designed to buy mid-stage therapies, shepherd them through late-stage trials and then auction them off to the highest bidder. Another fund--based in the U.K. and run by John Mayo--will take controlling interests in biotech companies and advance therapies through to proof-of-concept, when they can be sold.

"In Celtic Pharma's first fund we have assembled a diverse range of projects which are all progressing satisfactorily through clinical development and we believe will create substantial value for our investors," the company said in a release. "We have already begun the exit process for some of these products which will gather pace during 2008. Accordingly, it is now an appropriate time to be commencing the launch of new funds."

- see this release
- and here's the article from the Financial Times

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