Sunday 21 April 2019

Smurfit invests in Dublin biotech firm

Michael Smurfit
Michael Smurfit
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Businessman Michael Smurfit has invested €300,000 in Dublin-based biotech firm Inflection Biosciences, with his son, Michael Smurfit Jnr, joining the board of the company.

Inflection is an early-stage company that is developing targeted cancer treatments.

Chief executive and co-founder Darren Cunningham confirmed that Mr Smurfit Jnr had joined the company as part of a €725,000 fundraising that the firm recently closed.

Mr Smurfit Jnr is chief executive of SF Investments, a vehicle that manages the family's worldwide investments.

Michael Smurfit Snr, below, who lives in Monaco, took his stake in Inflection via an investment made by Isle of Man-based firm Bacchantes.

Mr Smurfit Snr is listed as the only shareholder of Bacchantes.

Members of the Smurfit family have stakes in firms such as betting software group GameAccount Network and retail software firm Escher.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Cunnigham said that the recently-raised money will enable Inflection to continue testing two molecules over the next six months.

He said the company will decide by the end of the year which of those molecules to advance towards phase one clinical testing, which involves testing on a small patient group.

The chief executive said the company is hoping to start clinical trials before the end of 2016, and to have clinical data by 2017 or 2018 which it can then fully assess.

Mr Cunningham added that successfully completing a phase one trial would be a hugely significant pivot point for the company.

He said that completing that process will probably involve a total investment of around €8m over the next three years.

The company has raised €1.2m to date, but also secured additional funding through a partnership.

Inflection also recently appointed John Lynch to its board.

He's the former chief executive of Merrion Pharmaceuticals and previously worked with Abbott Laboratories.

Last month, Inflection announced that it had entered into a collaboration with the US-based Multiple Myleoma Research Foundation on pre-clinical testing of Inflection's so-called IBL-202 inhibitor.

Irish Independent

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