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    Extending The Half-Life Of Novel And Existing Protein Drugs - Innovative Biopharmaceutical Company, PolyTherics, Raises Over 2 Million Pounds

Imperial Innovations Group plc, the technology commercialisation and investment company (AIM: IVO), Longbow Capital, which focuses on healthcare and technology investments and The Capital Fund, the 50 million pounds Regional Venture Capital Fund for London, today announce that they have completed an investment round of 2.3 million pounds in PolyTherics Limited ('PolyTherics'), an innovative biopharmaceutical company. Longbow Capital's private client base invested 1.3m pounds, and Imperial Innovations and The Capital Fund invested 750,000 pounds and 250,000 pounds respectively.

PolyTherics has developed patent-protected proprietary technologies and expertise in the modification of drugs to improve their performance. In particular, PolyTherics has developed a novel PEGylation technology, known as TheraPEGTM, which can extend the half-life of novel and existing protein drugs. The TheraPEGTM approach produces an improvement in biological activity and a higher yield when compared with existing PEGylation technologies. This means that drugs, such as Interferon, stay active in the body for longer, enabling longer periods between doses. Patients can therefore be treated less often, with fewer side-effects and at lower cost.

The market for traditional PEGylation has expanded considerably and the TheraPEGTM technology is positioned both to address existing markets and to open new markets, particularly in the antibody field. PolyTherics already has revenue-generating development contracts in place with several companies and is in discussions with a number of other parties.

PolyTherics is led by Dr Keith Powell and was established in 2002 by Professor Steve Brocchini of the School of Pharmacy, Professor Sunil Shaunak of Imperial College, also Professor of Infectious Diseases at Hammersmith Hospital, and Dr Antony Godwin, the company's Head of Chemistry. Dr Ji-Won Choi joined shortly after formation to establish the biology side of the work. Dr Debbie Allen joined the Company as Business Development Manager at completion; Debbie has over 10 years experience in building business alliances and securing licensing deals for biotech companies.

Keith Powell, CEO, PolyTherics, said,

'PolyTherics has made dramatic progress in the last two years - having products in pre-clinical trials before first round fundraising and a demonstrated core technology makes the company an exciting prospect. PolyTherics has been looking for investors who share our vision and who have brought more than just money to the company. We have been able to access high net worth entrepreneurs and industrialists who are bringing new opportunities and they are advising and supporting us proactively. We now have three partnerships with product-focused pharma companies underway and are already generating revenue from this.'

Julian Hickman, Partner, Longbow Capital, said,

"We are delighted to have the opportunity to support PolyTherics. The Company is well placed with highly developed and established technology and the funding will provide the resources to commercialise. Much of our investment is sourced from Longbow's EIS Portfolio Service which illustrates how effective the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) can be in attracting support from private investors for growing businesses like PolyTherics."

Susan Searle, CEO, Imperial Innovations, said,

"Polytherics has made significant commercial and technical progress over the last couple of years. We look forward to supporting the team as the company embarks on its next phase of growth."

Helen Reynolds, Investment Manager at The Capital Fund, said,

'The Capital Fund is pleased to support Polytherics by providing some of the vital funding they need to proceed with the next stage of development of their innovative PEGylation technology. The Company's technology has huge potential to play a key role in the successful development of a range of new and existing drugs that can be more beneficial for patients as well as potentially more cost-effective for the NHS. We congratulate Keith Powell and the management team on the significant progress they have already made in bringing products to pre-clinical trials and securing a number of contracts, and wish them every success with their plans."

About Imperial Innovations

Imperial Innovations is one of the UK's leading technology transfer and commercialisation companies. The company was founded in 1986 and its ordinary shares admitted to trading on the AIM Market of London Stock Exchange plc in July 2006, raising £26 million. The company's integrated approach encompasses the identification of ideas, protection of intellectual property, development and licensing of technology and formation, incubation and investment in technology businesses. A wide range of technologies are commercialised within the areas of healthcare, energy, environment and emerging technology trends.

Based at Imperial College London, the company has established equity holdings in 70 technology businesses and has completed 116 commercial agreements. Imperial Innovations also commercialises technologies originating from outside Imperial College through incubation contracts with the Carbon Trust and WRAP and has relationships with a number of multinational corporations including BAE Systems.

Imperial Innovations has invested in a range of spin-out companies, including The Acrobot Company Limited, BioCeramic Therapeutics Limited, Cardiak Limited, Circassia Holdings Limited, deltaDOT Limited, Equinox Pharma Limited, Future Waves PTE Limited, HeliSwirl Technologies Limited, InforSense Limited, Lontra Limited, Midaz Lasers Limited, NanoBioDesign Limited, Nexeon Limited, NovaThera Limited, Thiakis Limited and Veryan Medical Limited.

Imperial Innovations currently holds shares in four technology businesses now listed on AIM including the fuel cell company, Ceres Power plc.

About Longbow Capital LLP

Longbow Capital was established in 2004 by a group of experienced industrialists, corporate financiers and wealth management professionals. Its purpose is to bring to early stage unquoted companies the skills and capital required in order to generate significant returns for investors over a 3 to 5 year period. The partners of Longbow include individuals with a range of experience that has over the years enabled them to build and operate successful private companies for the mutual benefit of investors and management. For its investors, Longbow identifies investment opportunities with the potential for considerable and sustainable growth. This class of investment can also offer private investors income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax reliefs. Longbow's primary objective is to deliver substantial returns for its investors. Longbow has offices in the City of London and central Edinburgh, is regulated by the FSA and is a member of the British Venture Capital Association.

About The Capital Fund

Launched in 2002, The Capital Fund is a £50 million venture capital fund which backs fast-growing, small and medium-sized enterprises in Greater London. To date, the Fund has made over 50 investments in London-based companies and was named Regional Venture Capital Fund of the Year at the Investor Allstars Awards 2005. Initial investments can be up to £250,000 and the Fund can invest a further £250,000 after six months or more. In some circumstances, alongside other new investors, the Fund can follow on its investments with up to £5m in total in a single company. The Capital Fund is the largest of the nine Regional Venture Capital Funds and has a mixture of public and private sector investors.

The Capital Fund is managed by YFM Venture Finance Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority and part of the YFM Group. The YFM Group provides investment capital and business development services to SMEs throughout the UK. It currently has £250m in funds and consultancy contracts under management, with over 70 employees.

About PolyTherics

Founded in 2002, PolyTherics is a spin-out company from Imperial College London that has developed an innovative patented PEGylation technology to prolong the half-life of molecule fragments for use in drug development. The Company received initial funding of £850,000 from the Wellcome Trust (now Catalyst Biomedia) and the Bloomsbury BioSeed Fund.

PolyTherics' management team is led by Dr Keith Powell, CEO, who has extensive experience of managing large and small biotech companies. He led SPEAR into an $8.5M series B financing round and was also formerly Senior Vice President of Maxygen, a protein modification company, where he was responsible for the generation of research partnerships worth over $30m. Other management team members include Dr Debbie Allen, Business Development Director, who has substantial experience in the field of therapeutic antibodies and was most recently responsible for business development at Cambridge Antibody Technology.

PEGylation is the process by which Polyethylene Glycol chains are attached to protein and peptide drugs. PEGylating molecules or molecule fragments increases the time that a substance remains in the bloodstream before being metabolized or excreted by the body ie it improves the half-life of the drug and therefore potentially reduces the frequency of treatments required, decreasing the impact of side effects and improving patient compliance. For example, PEGylated interferon treatments for Hepatitis C can be injected once rather than three times per week.

Publication Date: 2007-06-28 03:00

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