ST PETER PORT, Guernsey and LONDON, July 6 /PRNewswire/ --
- GBP13.1 Million Funding to Drive Novel Antibiotics Platform Addressing Areas
of Major Unmet Need, Including Hospital Acquired Infections C. Difficile and
Celtic Pharma Holdings Advisors LLP (CPHA), the advisor to the second Celtic
Pharma fund, Celtic Pharma Holdings II LP (CP2), today announces its investment
in a majority shareholding in Novacta Biosystems Limited (Novacta), which is
developing a portfolio of antibiotics. The total being raised is GBP13.1m
($21.6m), payable against pre-agreed milestones. As part of this investment
certain existing investors are re-investing.
Novacta is a UK-based company developing novel, naturally-derived products known
as 'lantibiotics' as potential drugs. Lantibiotics have potent anti-infective
properties but have historically been underexploited owing to a lack of research
tools, a challenge that Novacta has successfully addressed through its
proprietary technology platform. The most advanced programme will enter the
clinic next year to treat infections caused by Clostridium difficile (C.
difficile). The Wellcome Trust has provided in the order of GBP4m of
translational funding to Novacta since 2004 for the development of the platform
technology and more recently the C. difficile programme.
New anti-infective drugs are needed to target C. difficile without depleting
other beneficial bacteria in the gut and preclinical data show that Novacta's
lead lantibiotics selectively kill C. difficile with less disturbance of normal
gut bacteria than seen with existing drugs. C. difficile infections (CDIs) are a
serious problem: the number of cases grew by 22 percent in the UK last year,
accounting for twice as many deaths as MRSA.
Novacta's pipeline also includes programmes targeting other areas of unmet
medical need in bacterial infection. These include novel promising lantibiotic
candidates in pre-clinical testing for the treatment of Gram-positive infections
including MRSA and novel broad spectrum bacteriocins for the treatment of both
Gram-positive and Gram-negative infections.
Following the completion of the investment, Novacta will appoint Dr. Richard
Garraway and Dr. Bob Milsted, both partners of CPHA, to its Board of Directors.
In a further Board change, the Chairman Dr. Andrew Sandham will retire from the
Board on completion and will be replaced by Dr. Andy Richards. The new directors
bring significant drug development, financial and corporate development
experience to Novacta.
Commenting on the investment, John Mayo, Managing Partner of CP2 said: The
urgent need for new antibiotics is well known, Novacta represents a real
opportunity to meet this significant unmet medical need in C. difficile
infection, MRSA and related Gram-positive infections and Gram-negative
infections, such as E. coli and Salmonella. Our investment in Novacta fits our
model of taking a majority position in high quality companies with well
differentiated technologies and bringing both funding and additional commercial,
regulatory, drug development and manufacturing experience to increase both the
probability of success and the value of the products. We are looking forward to
working with the dynamic management team at Novacta under Tony Sedgwick,
producing important new antibiotics and a great return for existing Novacta
shareholders and Celtic Pharma investors alike.
Stephen Parker, a Partner in CP2 added: This is the second in a series of major
investments in high-quality UK biotech companies. We were delighted to see the
announcement from the UK Government this week of the creation of the Innovation
Investment Fund-of-funds to invest in technology-based businesses and we look
forward to helping the Government fulfil its ambitions in the UK life science
sector as we continue to invest. CP2 is currently assessing several further
opportunities to invest in attractive, high-growth potential UK companies.
Dr. Tony Sedgwick, Chief Executive Officer of Novacta said: We have worked
closely with CP2 to consummate this investment, one of the largest in Europe
this year. We have made great progress with our technology platform and pipeline
and now have the funds to accelerate development. In particular, access to the
expertise at CP2 will ensure that we develop drugs to the standards looked for
by big pharma and maximise their commercial value. I would like to thank Andy
Sandham for his leadership and wise counsel as our outgoing Chairman and welcome
Andy Richards to the role. We are also pleased that Richard and Bob are joining
the Board from CP2.
Notes to Editors
About Celtic Pharma Holdings Advisors LLP
Celtic Pharma Holdings Advisors is a global private equity fund management
partnership focused on the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Our
second fund, Celtic Pharma Holdings II LP, invests in companies which own proven
technology platforms and early clinical development-stage pharmaceutical
programmes and directs the management of these programmes through their
development prior to sale at proof of concept with appropriate efficacy and
safety data (usually at end of Phase II clinical trials).
CP2 has already attracted investment from sovereign wealth funds, pension funds
and high net worth individuals from many countries and continues to raise
further capital. For further information, please visit our website at
About Novacta Biosystems Limited
Novacta is a UK-based biotechnology company that specialises in the discovery
and development of potential treatments for infectious diseases. Novacta's lead
programmes are centred around a class of small peptide molecules called
lantibiotics, a drug class that, until now, has been underexploited due to the
lack of adequate research tools. Novacta's lantibiotic platform has given rise
to a number of potential drug candidates, including those in the C. difficile
programme. Other programmes include one targeting methicillin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection and others targeting Gram-negative
infections. For further information, please visit our website at
Lantibiotics are a naturally occurring class of antibiotic peptide compounds
found in a large number of bacteria. They take their name from the lanthionine
amino acids found within their structure ( lanthionine-containing antibiotics).
Lantibiotics have demonstrated potential to treat infections caused by agents
such as C. difficile and MRSA. Conventional medicinal chemistry has been unable
to manipulate the structure of the naturally occurring compounds into the
optimised forms that have the potential to treat human disease. However,
Novacta's proprietary technologies allow the structural manipulation and
optimisation of activity which is necessary to unlock the potential of this
novel and under-exploited class of compounds.
Please contact with enquiries: Celtic Pharma Holdings Advisors John Mayo /
Stephen Parker LLP Tel: +44(20)7291-5456 firstname.lastname@example.org
Novacta Biosystems Ltd. Georg Buchner VP, Corporate Business Development Tel:
+44(0)1707-356130 email@example.com Citigate Dewe Rogerson Limited
David Dible / Chris Gardner Tel: +44(0)20-7638-9571 firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE: Celtic Pharma Holdings Advisors LLP
Please contact with enquiries: Celtic Pharma Holdings Advisors, John Mayo /
Stephen Parker, LLP, Tel: +44(20)7291-5456,
email@example.com; Novacta Biosystems Ltd., Georg Buchner,
VP, Corporate Business Development, Tel: +44(0)1707-356130,
firstname.lastname@example.org; Citigate Dewe Rogerson Limited, David Dible /
Chris Gardner, Tel: +44(0)20-7638-9571, email@example.com /