Opsona Therapeutics Closes EUR18M Funding

February 18, 2009

DUBLIN, Ireland, February 18 /PRNewswire/ — Opsona Therapeutics, a
biotechnology company focused on novel therapeutic and preventative
approaches to autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, today announced the
completion of an EUR18M ($23M) Series B financing round which will enable it
to expand both at an operational and clinical level. Novartis Venture Fund,
Fountain Healthcare Partners, Inventages Venture Capital and Seroba Kernel
Life Sciences all participated in the funding.

Proceeds will support the advancement of Opsona’s clinical trials
targeting inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and
transplantation. As a part of the financing, Opsona Therapeutics also
announced the addition of Florent Gros, managing director at Novartis Venture
Fund, and Dr. Manus Rogan, managing partner at Fountain Healthcare Partners,
to the Board of Directors. Opsona expects to make a number of other key
appointments in the corporate and clinical areas in the coming months.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr Mark Heffernan, Chief Executive
Officer of Opsona Therapeutics, said: “Completion of this financing
represents a significant milestone in the transition of Opsona into a
product-focused company delivering key clinical development milestones. With
the endorsement of our existing and new investors, including the Novartis
Venture Fund, Fountain Healthcare Partners and Seroba Kernel Life Sciences.
Opsona is positioned to deliver on proof of concept studies in patients by
targeting inflammatory diseases through the innate immune system, with our
ultimate aim being to uncover innovative therapies that combat diseases with
significant unmet medical need.”

Opsona is developing biopharmaceutical and small molecule products which
modulate the innate immune system, which is the key trigger in the
inflammation cascade in many autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Opsona’s
lead product, a fully humanised monoclonal antibody (OPN-305) to a key
toll-like receptor (TLR) target, has demonstrated efficacy in a number of
animal models and will start pivotal clinical trials in 2010.

Florent Gros, managing director, Novartis Venture Fund added, “We are
delighted to be working with Opsona Therapeutics and the other investors to
assist Opsona in progressing the company’s highly innovative technology and
approaches towards the clinic. The innate immune system represents a new
frontier in targeting inflammatory diseases, and the caliber of the investors
in this funding round is a demonstration of Opsona’s expertise and
capabilities in this highly promising field.’

Opsona has also announced the opening of a new facility in Switzerland.
The Swiss laboratory will carry out pivotal assay development and biochemical
work for new projects and therapeutics recently acquired by Opsona to expand
its pipeline of immunomodulators. The expertise that it intends to grow in
Switzerland will complement the existing team and activity in Dublin.

Dr Cormac Kilty, Chairman of Opsona and past Chairman of the Irish
Bioindustry Association explains “This is major achievement for any
biotechnology company in the current economic climate. Opsona’s R&D shows
that emerging Irish companies can reach international recognition in

Notes to Editors:

About Opsona Therapeutics

Opsona is a drug development company, focused on novel therapeutic and
preventative approaches to autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. The company
was founded in 2004 with three of Trinity College Dublin’s respected
Immunologists (Professors Luke O’Neill, Kingston Mills and Dermot Kelleher).
The company is specifically interested in drugs which modulate the innate
immune system and its signalling, specifically Toll-Like Receptors (TLR).
Opsona has a pipeline of therapeutics in advanced pre-clinical development
which modulate the innate immune system, including biologics and small
molecules. The company has signed some significant partnering and
collaborative deals, such as with Wyeth (USA). The company is based in Dublin
and also has laboratories in Lausanne, Switzerland.


About Novartis Venture Fund

The Novartis Venture Fund, established in 1996 currently manages over
$650 million in committed capital. NVF invests in companies which have the
potential to change a core therapeutic field or explore new business areas
that will be critical to patient care. Our primary interest is in the
development of novel therapeutics and platforms as well as medical devices,
diagnostics, and delivery systems. The Fund invests for financial objectives
at all stages, but prefers to invest in the early-stages of company
development. With eight investment professionals located in Basel,
and Cambridge, MA the team has extensive experience in
pharmaceutical R&D and venture capital.


About Fountain Healthcare Partners

Fountain Healthcare Partners (“Fountain”) is a life science focused
venture capital fund headquartered in Dublin, Ireland with a second office in
New York, US. Fountain specialises in making investments in biotechnology,
medical device, specialty pharma and diagnostic companies and allocates the
majority of its capital to Europe with a primary emphasis on Ireland.
Fountain launched its inaugural fund (Fountain Healthcare Partners I) in May
with EUR75M in committed capital.


About Inventages

Inventages is one of the world’s largest life-sciences, nutrition and
wellness focused venture capital funds, with the resources to provide
continued support to growing companies.


About Seroba Kernel Life Sciences

Seroba Kernel is a dedicated life science venture capital fund manager
with offices in Ireland and the UK. The firm recently announced the first
close of Seroba Kernel Life Sciences Fund II with EUR75m in committed
capital, bringing total funds under management by the six-member team in the
life science sector to over EUR200m. The fund will invest in European life
science companies with the majority of its capital invested in Ireland and
the UK.

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SOURCE Opsona Therapeutics Ltd

Source: newswire

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