EXTON, PA - February 18, 2004 - Morphotek Inc. announced today the closing of its $26 million Series C financing, a private placement of preferred stock with existing and new investors, led by Forward Ventures of San Diego, California.
The financing round was oversubscribed and new investors included S.R. One, Limited, Morgenthaler Ventures, Rock Maple Ventures, China Development Industrial Bank and DSM Venturing. Existing investors that participated in the new round included Flagship Ventures, through their AGTC Funds, Burrill & Co., CB Health Ventures and Trieste Capital. A number of Series A private investors also participated.
"Morphotek is an extremely attractive investment both near term and long term. They are already generating significant revenues from their platform technology and have developed a pipeline of Monoclonal Antibody products for clinical development," said Dr. Ivor Royston, managing partner with Forward Ventures. "The MORPHODOMA® technology is truly a breakthrough in terms of optimizing and manufacturing antibodies. And the management team has demonstrated the ability to negotiate deals with commercial partners and academic institutions."
The funds raised in the Series C round will be used primarily to advance the development of Morphotek's therapeutic antibodies through preclinical testing and development for clinical evaluation. The company is currently pursuing the advancement of its lead therapeutic antibody, MORAb-003, that specifically targets tumor cells bearing a molecule that is present on over 90% of all ovarian tumors and in a number of other cancer types.
"We appreciate the continued support of existing investors, and we're energized that our offering attracted new attention from such high quality follow-on investors. In today's challenging market, there is no stronger validation for the strategic direction of the company as well as our technology and antibody development programs," said Dr. Nicholas Nicolaides, President and Chief Executive Officer of Morphotek commented, "With the proceeds of this financing, Morphotek can aggressively pursue the development of our antibody therapeutic products for the treatment of cancers and inflammatory diseases, and move our lead product, MORAb-003 into human clinical trials later this year."
Morphotek obtained its lead antibody as part of an agreement with the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.. The company is also pursuing the development and clinical validation of additional lead therapeutic antibodies for cancer, inflammation and neovascular diseases that have been obtained from collaborations with leading research institutes.
In addition to developing its own line of antibodies, Morphotek has signed agreements with Abgenix, Baxter Healthcare Corporation, Centocor, Novo Nordisk and Wyeth for the use of its MORPHODOMA® platform technology to aid those companies in the rapid development of high-titer manufacturing cell lines or other cell line enhancements.
Morphotek has also developed an innovative and proprietary method for developing in vitro immunization for infectious diseases and toxins. By developing antibodies in vitro, Morphotek is able to avoid many of the complications, costs and delays associated with traditional methods that use an animal host.
New directors joining Morphotek's board are Forward Ventures' Dr. Royston, Ralph ("Chris") Christoffersen, Ph.D., of Morgenthaler Ventures and Maxine Gowen, Ph.D., of S.R. One.
About Morphotek Inc.
Morphotek® Inc. is a biotechnology company specializing in the development of protein and antibody products through the use of a novel and proprietary gene evolution technology. The technology has been successfully applied to a broad variety of cell lines and organisms to yield genetically diverse offspring that are suitable for pharmaceutical product development in the areas of antibody therapeutics, protein therapeutics, product manufacturing, drug target discovery, and improved output traits for commercial applications. The company is currently focusing its platform on the development and manufacturing of therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of cancer, inflammation and infectious disease. For further company information visit (www.morphotek.com).
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