Novazyme Pharmaceuticals Raises $8.0 Million Through Private Equity Placement
Funds to Further Accelerate Development of Multiple Lysosomal Storage Disease Programs
Oklahoma City, OK, September 19, 2000 – Novazyme Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced that the company has completed an $8.0 million equity financing through the private placement of Series A preferred stock with a select group of investors. The private placement was co-led by: Catalyst Health & Technology Partners (Boston); HealthCare Ventures (Princeton); and, Perseus-Soros Biopharmaceutical Fund (New York). Novazyme will use the funds to accelerate the clinical development of its lead lysosomal storage disease programs.
Novazyme has developed a series of proprietary technologies that have been shown in pre-clinical studies to greatly enhance uptake of replacement enzymes for lysosomal storage diseases. Virtually all of these diseases share a common biologic pathway for uptake through mannose-6 phosphate receptors. Novazyme’s core technology targets enzymes to these receptors. The technology is applicable to enzyme therapies for all of the lysosomal diseases that share the mannose-6 phosphate pathway. Enhanced enzyme uptake is widely viewed as the key to the next generation of drugs to treat these rare diseases. With more efficient uptake of replacement enzymes, patients may benefit by greater response to these therapies and by reduced side effects, such as antibody responses.
Commenting on the investment, Dennis J. Purcell, Managing Director at Perseus-Soros noted that: “Novazyme represents a unique opportunity to invest in a company that combines a powerful core platform technology with its own internal drug development programs. The untapped market potential for lysosomal storage diseases is greater than $5 billion. Novazyme is well-positioned to move its technologies rapidly forward into the human clinic on multiple diseases and to take a leadership position in this therapeutic field.”
Harold Werner, Managing Director at HealthCare Ventures stated: “We have been very impressed with both the scientific and business leadership at Novazyme. The many advances that they have made have happened in a very short period of time. We feel that Novazyme will continue to leverage its advanced expertise in glycobiology and become a major source of leading edge therapeutics and technologies for the treatment of these rare genetic disorders.”
The funds raised in this Series A round build upon an earlier key investment in Novazyme by Neose Technologies (NasdaqNM: NTEC), a leading developer of proprietary technologies for the synthesis and manufacture of complex carbohydrates. According to Novazyme President & CEO, John F. Crowley, “This funding is a tremendous step forward for Novazyme. Building upon our strategic relationship with Neose, we have now added a small group of investors with enormous experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. These investors are committed to working closely with our management team and to actively participating in our strategic development as we move rapidly forward on several fronts. The leverage of this financing and the strategic partnership with these investors will enable us to move rapidly toward fulfilling our company mission of ‘profoundly enhancing the lives of patients with lysosomal storage diseases.’ ” Echoing these comments, Joshua Phillips of Catalyst Health & Technology Partners noted: “Catalyst is pleased with both the investment opportunity that Novazyme presents and the ability to play an early part in supporting the company’s mission to treat these devastating diseases.”
Novazyme is a pharmaceutical company developing biotherapies for the treatment of lysosomal storage disorders. These biotherapies are based on Novazyme’s proprietary technologies for the targeted delivery of the missing enzymes critical for the treatment of these diseases. The technologies were developed by William M. Canfield, M.D., Ph.D. in his laboratories at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Dr. Canfield, an associate professor of medicine at the university, founded Novazyme in 1999. Dr. Canfield currently serves as the company’s chairman and chief scientific officer. Novazyme’s headquarters are located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.