Friday 23 February 2018

Opsona boosted by drug giant investment

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John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Irish drug development firm Opsona Therapeutics has received €4.2m in backing from existing investors, including the venture capital arm of drug giant Novartis.

Filings at the Companies Registration Office reveal that the company secured the additional funding just before Christmas.

Novartis Bioventures contributed the single biggest slice - €14m - of the latest fundraising round.

Roche Finance, an investment arm of the Swiss drug giant, stumped up €986,000.

The Seroba Kernel Lifesciences Fund II injected €222,000, while the €75m Fountain Healthcare Partners Fund 1, which is backed by the European Investment Fund and managed by Dublin-based Fountain Healthcare, invested €906,000.

In 2013, Opsona Therapeutics raised €33m that was earmarked to advance a treatment designed to block the rejection of kidneys in transplant patients. The treatment - still undergoing trials - is called OPN-305.

The company recently received orphan drug designation for OPN-305 from the US Food and Drug Administration for so-called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a disease where bone marrow doesn't produce enough healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and/or platelets.

Orphan designation means a firm can avail of tax breaks for a drug's development.

The company was founded in 2004 by three immunologists at Trinity College, including Luke O'Neill.

It has raised over €60m since then.

Irish Independent

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