Battelle Ventures, Affiliate Invest $3 Million in Biopharma Tech Firm
CDI Bioscience has process to boost protein production, lower drug-manufacturing costs
PRINCETON, N.J., Dec. 11, 2007 â€“ Battelle Ventures, LP, and its affiliate fund, Innovation Valley Partners (IVP), are the sole investors in the $3-million Series A funding round of CDI Bioscience, Inc., a biopharmaceutical technology company with a patented process that can dramatically increase the productivity of cells in the manufacture of therapeutic proteins.
The Madison, Wis.-based companyâ€™s patented process, based on what it calls RP Shift technology, â€œencourages cells to routinely produce three to seven times more therapeutic protein than they normally would, by increasing cellular synthesis and secretion of protein,â€ said Battelle Ventures General Partner Mort Collins.
â€œThere has been a move in the pharmaceutical industry away from chemical-based therapeutic drugs toward protein-based ones, but the latter are inherently harder to manufacture and must be taken in larger dosages,â€ explained Collins. â€œThe pain in the marketplace is that some proteins have not been produced in sufficient amounts and others have not gone into commercial production due to the cost and inefficiencies of producing them.â€
Collins continued: â€œWe believe that CDI Bioscience can more than ease the marketplace pain. With the productivity results of the RP Shift process, a drug producer can simultaneously produce vastly more protein, reduce by some six percent its total cost of goods sold and save up to 40 percent in manufacturing costs.
â€œThis means that for a typical blockbuster drug,â€ he added, â€œCDI Bioscience could save a pharmaceutical manufacturer hundreds of millions of dollars in production costs, at a time when more and more drugs are in demand for treatment of such prevalent diseases as cancer, arthritis and multiple sclerosis.â€Â Â Â
â€œWe engineer cells to make them competent for the RP Shift process, wherein cells are shifted from replication into production,â€ stated CDI Bioscience co-founder and CEO Dr. Thomas Primiano. â€œOnce shifted, cells do not waste energy dividing, but instead channel their resources into protein production.
Battelle Ventures, CDI deal/2
â€œCell metabolism is controlled by the process, which increases cell stability and produces significant amounts of proteins â€“ three to seven times more than with other processes,â€ Dr. Primiano continued. â€œThe RP Shift process also speeds production of cell lines, has no effect on product integrity and is easily scalable.â€
Collins, who now chairs the companyâ€™s Board of Directors, said: â€œBefore we decided to make this investment, we looked at more than a dozen companies that focus on cell reproduction. We quickly came to the conclusion that CDI Bioscience has the best technology for enhanced cell production. Other methods, though good â€˜supplementalâ€™ technologies, were not as elegant or robust as CDI Bioscienceâ€™s RP Shift process.
â€œAnother attractive aspect of the company is that it has a self-sustaining business model,â€ Collins said, noting that the company generates revenue from research licensing and commercial royalties for use of its RP Shift process. It receives escalating license fees and milestone payments, he added, as a drug proceeds from preclinical research to FDA clinical trial.
Pointing out that CDI Bioscience has 10 current or successfully completed contracts, including several with some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, Dr. Primiano said that this infusion of capital will enable the company to hire more research biologists, purchase new lab equipment and enhance sales and marketing efforts.
â€œThe company has limited capital requirements, a single focus and a self-sustaining business model.Â For us, itâ€™s a winning combination with a lot of upside,â€ said Collins.
About Battelle Ventures
Battelle Ventures is a $220-million national fund that invests in technology companies at
early stages of development, primarily in the following areas of investment: energy & environment, security, and health & life sciences. The fundâ€™s overarching investment strategy is to support companies that provide technologies that could solve fundamental problems in marketplaces with only inadequate solutions. Other portfolio companies in this health & life sciences sector are: BioVigilant Systems, a developer of optical biodetectors for critical applications in pharmaceutical clean-room manufacturing; Endovalve, a cardiovascular device company; NuPathe, a pharmaceutical company specializing in CNS; and Panomics, a life sciences tools provider developing novel classes of reagents to ultimately facilitate understanding of biological pathways. Battelle Venturesâ€™ affiliate fund, Knoxville, Tenn.-based Innovation Valley Partners, is a $35-million fund that has a proportionate interest in each Battelle Venturesâ€™ portfolio company and invests alongside that fund in each deal. For more information about Battelle Ventures and its portfolio companies, go to www.battelleventures.com. For more information about CDI Bioscience, go to www.cdibios.com.