Monday 19 February 2018

Malin invests up to $30m in US therapeutics company

Malin boss Kelly Martin
Malin boss Kelly Martin
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Irish life sciences investment firm Malin, which is headed by former Elan boss Kelly Martin, has agreed to plough up to $30m (€27m) into a US human therapeutics company, Poseida. It gives Malin a 31pc stake in the firm.

It's the latest in a string of investments that have been made by Malin since it was founded in late 2014 by Mr Martin and other former Elan executives. Earlier this year Malin floated on the stock exchange, raising €330m to fuel its investment strategy.

Based in California, Poseida Therapeutics develops novel therapies using proprietary genome engineering technologies. Those technologies can be applied to a vast array of human diseases, according to Malin. The US firm is currently developing therapies for orphan liver diseases and cancer treatments.

The firm also has an alliance with Janssen Biotech to develop specific therapies for the treatment of various cancers.

Poseida's chairman is Lars Ekman. He was the president of research and development at Elan, having joined the company in 2001. He left Elan in 2007 and then joined US-based Sofinnova Ventures, where he is an executive partner.

Mr Ekman joined Poseida's board in August this year. He's also the chairman of Dublin-headquartered Amarin Corporation, a company that was spun out of Elan over a decade ago.

Malin has invested an initial $20m in Poseida, with a commitment to invest an additional $10m next year subject to the achievement of certain milestones. Mr Martin, as well as Malin's chief investment officer, Adrian Howd, will also join the Poseida board.

Mr Martin took over the chief executive role at Malin from Mr Howd in August after the company spent the proceeds of its flotation ahead of schedule.

Mr Martin - a former Merrill Lynch banker who worked there with people including current New Zealand prime minister John Key - was chief executive of Elan from 2003 until its sale to US firm Perrigo in 2013 for $8.6bn. Mr Martin is reckoned to have pocketed as much as $40m from the sale.

Malin has invested in more than a dozen firms since it raised its funds this year. Among those is Dublin firm 3D4Medical.

It develops apps that are used for health and fitness, as well as apps that can be used by patients engaged in rehabilitation, for instance. Its technology is also used by medical students all over the world to study anatomy.

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