Crescendo Biologics Raises GBP4.5 million in Seed-Funding Led by Sofinnova Partners

Monday, October 12, 2009 General News
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CAMBRIDGE, England, October 12 Crescendo Biologics ("Crescendo") today announces it hasraised GBP4.5 million in a seed-funding round to advance the development ofits fragment antibody technology platforms. The funding round was led bySofinnova Partners, a Paris-based venture capital firm, with Aitua, AvlarBioVentures and the Rainbow Seed Fund also participating.

Crescendo brings together highly innovative in vivo and invitro technology platforms invented by scientists at the Babraham Institute,including Dr Marianne Bruggemann, a pioneer in the development of humanantibody transgenics, and Dr Mike Taussig, an expert in protein display andarray systems. Crescendo's technology platforms will enable the Company togenerate diverse, stable and optimised human heavy chain (VH) fragments, thesmallest functional binding units of an antibody molecule. These fragmentsoffer several advantages as starting points for the development of noveltherapeutics: they can be administered topically by inhaled and oral routesas well as by injection; they provide great flexibility in format of theproduct, including bi-specific targeting; they are easy to manufacture andstable; and they have the potential to target binding sites inaccessible toconventional antibodies.

The Crescendo transgenic mouse platform has the potential torapidly and predictably generate human VH fragments that have high affinityand solubility, and no requirement for humanisation. This is combined with apowerful in vitro ribosome display technology which offers significantadvantages in antibody optimisation.

The seed funding will allow Crescendo to advance thedevelopment of these platforms and to initiate the development of proprietarytherapeutics, following the appointment of the CSO, Dr Mike Romanos, who hasextensive experience in biopharmaceutical R&D and played a pivotal role inbuilding GlaxoSmithKline's antibody discovery platform (see separaterelease).

Mike Romanos, CSO at Crescendo Biologics, said: "Thissubstantial funding from experienced life sciences investors provides apowerful validation of our approach to creating next-generation targetedbiological therapeutics based on fragment antibodies. With the funding inplace, we will be able to accelerate the development of our technologyplatforms and advance their application to in-house projects."

Graziano Seghezzi, Partner at Sofinnova Partners, said:"Antibodies have proved to be extremely effective therapeutics commandinghuge market value and there is a great deal of demand from within thepharmaceutical industry for next-generation antibody technologies that canunderpin further growth. We believe that Crescendo has the right technology,IP, expertise and vision to become a world-leading next generation antibodydeveloper."

About Crescendo Biologics Ltd

Crescendo Biologics will apply highly innovative antibodyfragment technologies to the development of new targeted therapeutics. TheCrescendo transgenic mouse platform under development has the potential torapidly and predictably generate high-affinity human heavy chain antibodiesthat readily yield VH fragments that have no requirement for humanisation.This is combined with a powerful in vitro ribosome display technology whichoffers significant advantages over existing approaches in antibodyoptimisation. VH fragments provide great flexibility as a starting point forthe development of new targeted therapeutics combining the specificity andbinding affinity of antibodies with certain desirable characteristics ofsmall molecules.

Crescendo's technologies were invented by scientists at theBabraham Institute, Cambridge (UK). The Company has raised GBP4.5 million inseed funding from leading life sciences investors, Sofinnova Partners withAitua, Avlar BioVentures and the Rainbow Seed Fund also participating.

About Sofinnova Partners

Sofinnova Partners is an independent venture capital firmbased in Paris, France that specializes in investments in early stagecompanies and corporate spin-offs in the technology and life sciencessectors. From landmark historical investments including Genentech and Biogento more recent successes such as Vistaprint, Actelion, CoreValve and Fovea,Sofinnova has a history of discovering and nurturing companies andentrepreneurs. Since 1972, the firm has financed over 460 companies, many ofwhich have gone public or have been acquired, and currently manages over EUR1billion in assets. Please visit for more informationon Sofinnova's team and portfolio.

About Aitua Ltd

Founded in June 2006, Aitua has invested in a number of earlystage life science companies. Situated at the heart of the Cambridgebiotechnology cluster, the company uses its expertise to build on a platformof top-quality research to develop commercial life science businesses. Aswell as a close relationship with the Babraham Institute, Aitua have investedin a opportunities wherever they may originate.

About Avlar BioVentures Ltd

Avlar is a specialist biotechnology venture capital companyand is the manager of Avlar BioVentures Fund I, Avlar BioVentures Fund II andThe Cambridge Gateway Fund. All three funds are focused on seed and earlystage investments and are used to invest in emerging bioscience technologies.Avlar's approach to investment is very much 'hands on', working intensivelywith companies in the critical stages of development from pre-formation tosecond round of financing, applying its strategic, entrepreneurial andbiotech industry skills. Please visit for moreinformation.

About The Rainbow Seed Fund

The GBP10m Rainbow Seed Fund was established in 2002 with funding from the Office of Science and Innovation tocommercialise scientific research in a leading group of the UK publiclyfunded institutions, our partners. The Fund, which is independently managedby Midven Ltd, made its first investment in 2002, and currently has aportfolio of 22 companies with one exit.

The Fund invests at the earliest stages of a technology's development, and helps to turn an idea into a business by actively identifying and supporting experienced management and facilitating additional co-investment. Rainbow's partners spend over GBP1 billion on research and development every year giving the Fund privileged access to high quality investment propositions at the earliest stage.

Contacts Mike Romanos/Amanda Bettison Crescendo Biologics Tel: +44(0)1223-497140 Email: mromanos/ Chris Gardner Citigate Dewe Rogerson Tel: +44(0)207-638-9571 Email:

Contacts: Mike Romanos/Amanda Bettison, Crescendo Biologics, Tel: +44(0)1223-497140, Email: mromanos/ . Chris Gardner, Citigate Dewe Rogerson, Tel: +44(0)207-638-9571, Email:

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