New biopharmaceutical company, Lumavita AG, created in Switzerland with a Series A financing of CHF18m
2 September 2008, Basle, Switzerland: Lumavita AG, a newly-created specialty biopharmaceutical company focusing on antiinfectives for women's health, announces today that it has raised a Series A financing of CHF18m (€11m). The lead investors are Atlas Venture, BB Biotech Ventures, and BioMedInvest. Dr. Jürg Eckhardt and Dr. Gerhard Ries join Dr. Karl Naegler of Atlas on the Board. The Company also announces the appointment of Nicholas Benedict as CEO.
Lumavita AG is focused on worldwide development and commercialization of innovative treatments for infectious diseases in women's health. The Company's product portfolio includes FemiFect® (pentamycin) a polyene macrolide with a unique spectrum of coverage for the treatment of vaginitis, and SPK-601, a first-in-class PCPLC inhibitor for the potential treatment of infections caused by Human Papilloma Virus and Herpes Simplex Virus. FemiFect® is already approved in Switzerland for the treatment of vaginitis and Lumavita anticipates an imminent launch. A doseoptimized formulation of FemiFect® is in Ph IIb clinical development, and SPK-601 is in Phase I. Lumavita was founded on the expertise of co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Cees Winnips, who has a significant background in development within the pharmaceutical industry in several therapeutic areas, including antiinfective drugs.
Nicholas Benedict, Lumavita's newly-appointed CEO, has extensive international leadership experience gained over 17 years in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Mr Benedict began his career at Roche. He moved to Novartis in 1998 and took positions of increasing responsibility including COO of Novartis UK and worldwide Business Unit Head in Primary Care, which incorporated the women's health business. Most recently, Mr Benedict was Head of Commercial Strategy & Operations at the Swiss specialty antiinfectives biotechnology company, Basilea Pharmaceutica.
Dr Karl Naegler, principal at Atlas Venture and board member of Lumavita, said "We are joined in this compelling late-stage investment by additional top tier healthcare funds. This successful financing round enables the combined expertise of the newlyappointed senior management team to realize the value of the assets we have in Lumavita's portfolio. Lumavita's first product, FemiFect®, is awaiting launches in Switzerland and around the world."
Dr. Jürg Eckhardt, partner at BB Biotech Ventures and Chairman of Lumavita, said "FemiFect has the potential to be the first-line choice for the empirical treatment of vaginitis, a widespread and common infection in women. Through launching this product and by progressing development of the other products in Lumavita's pipeline, this new company has a tremendous opportunity to benefit female patients through novel and improved antiinfectives."
The worldwide market for vaginitis is estimated at $2.4 billion. Lumavita has established a distribution network to launch FemiFect® in Switzerland, Latin America, Asia and CIS, which together comprise approximately 30% of the total market.