OXFORD, England, April 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Circassia Ltd, a specialty biopharmaceutical company focused on allergy, today announced that it has closed a GBP60 million ($98 million) fundraising. The funding round was led by Imperial Innovations, and included investments from other existing shareholders, including Invesco Perpetual. The investment, which is scheduled in two tranches over the next two years, is the second largest fundraising by a privately-held European biopharmaceutical company this year, and the third largest in more than 15 years. To date, Circassia has successfully completed four investment rounds, raising approximately GBP93 million ($159 million).
The new investment will fund phase III development programmes for Circassia's cat and ragweed allergy therapies. The financing will also fund the completion of phase II testing of the company's house dust mite and grass allergy T-cell vaccines, and will advance the development programmes for three additional allergy therapies and Circassia's recently acquired psoriasis treatment, PAP-1.
"The success of this fundraising follows a year of major clinical and corporate achievements for Circassia," said Steve Harris, Circassia's CEO. "We have achieved positive phase II results in our three lead allergy programmes and extended our portfolio into the autoimmunity field. Since Circassia's establishment five years ago, we have built a company with a broad pipeline, completed numerous phase II trials and raised significant investment funding. The new financing announced today will allow us to build on this progress, and transform Circassia into a world-class immunotherapy business."
Susan Searle, Chief Executive Officer of Imperial Innovations, said, "We have led each investment round for Circassia since the company was founded, and are delighted to do so again. Circassia has made great progress in the last five years, and we are pleased to contribute to this next transformational stage in the company's growth."
About Circassia's allergy T-cell vaccines
Circassia is developing a range of allergy T-cell vaccines based on its proprietary ToleroMune(R) technology. The company has successfully completed a number of phase II studies with its cat, house dust mite and ragweed allergy products, and its grass allergy therapeutic is in clinical testing. Clinical results to date show that short treatment regimes with Circassia's T-cell vaccines can greatly reduce patients' allergic reactions, without the need for adjuvants or other immune stimulators, while proving extremely well tolerated. As a result, the treatments offer major potential clinical benefits compared with existing therapies, and have significant market opportunities. Over 150 million people suffer from allergic rhinitis in the US and Europe, and the current treatment market is approximately $12 billion per year.
Circassia was founded in 2006 by a team of highly experienced biotechnology scientists and entrepreneurs, and is chaired by the former Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline, Sir Richard Sykes. The company is based in the UK on the Oxford Science Park, and in Hamilton, Canada, where its joint venture Adiga Life Sciences is located. Its ToleroMune technology was developed originally by scientists at Imperial College, London. Having successfully completed four fundraising rounds Circassia is backed by a syndicate of world-class venture capital and institutional investors, including Imperial Innovations and Invesco Perpetual.