Healthcare Industry News:  MedImmune 

Biopharmaceuticals Venture Capital

 News Release - September 7, 2006

Metastatix Completes Series a Financing

H.I.G. Ventures Leads $3.6 Million Round for Atlanta-Based Biopharmaceutical Company

ATLANTA--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Sept. 7, 2006--Metastatix, Inc., an Atlanta-based biopharmaceutical company developing small-molecule drugs to treat cancer and HIV, announced today it has raised a $3.6 million Series A financing round. The funds will be used for the development of initial clinical candidates and will advance the cancer program to the point of filing an investigational new drug application (IND) with the FDA.

H.I.G. Ventures led the round joined by new investors The Aurora Funds, CM Capital, SR One and MedImmune Ventures, Inc. Existing investors, Georgia Venture Partners and Centrosome Ventures, also participated, along with the State of Georgia. As a result of the financing, Bruce Robertson, Ph.D., Managing Director of H.I.G. Ventures, will become Chairman of the Board. Doug Gooding, Venture Partner for The Aurora Funds, Ad Rawcliffe, Managing Partner for SR One, and Wayne T. Hockmeyer, Ph.D., President of MedImmune Ventures and Chairman of MedImmune, Inc., will also take seats on the Metastatix board of directors. Len Post, Ph.D., former Senior Vice President of Research and Development for Onyx and CM Capital Advisor, will become Chairman of the company's scientific advisory board.

"We're honored and excited to have attracted such a strong syndicate of investors at this early stage," said Tony Shuker, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Metastatix. "The breadth of experience and financial resources this group brings to the table will serve our company well for years to come. Having an industry pioneer like Wayne Hockmeyer providing guidance on our board is a big win for the company. Given Len Post's past success leading the development of Nexavar for Onyx, his scientific and clinical input will be invaluable as well."

Tumor metastasis is the leading cause of cancer-related death yet there is no drug on the market to stop metastatic cancer. By targeting the CXCR4 receptor on tumor cells, Metastatix's lead compound is able to inhibit both primary tumor growth as well as prevent metastasis. Functioning at the cell's surface, CXCR4 has been identified as a major factor in tumor angiogenesis, cell survival and proliferation along with metastatic progression. CXCR4 is also implicated as an entry point in T-tropic HIV infection, the target for Metastatix's second program.

Using technology licensed from Emory University's Office of Technology Transfer, Metastatix is currently developing chemokine inhibitors that block the CXCR4 receptor and results have shown efficacy in validated models of cancer and T-tropic HIV infection. This groundbreaking technology was developed by Dr. Dennis Liotta, one of the foremost experts in small-molecule drug design.

From its inception, Metastatix drug development has been influenced equally by chemistry, biology, and commercial expertise. Collectively, the Metastatix team has brought three drugs to market and has led development efforts at Eli Lilly, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Abbott, Pfizer, P&G, AstraZeneca, Monsanto, Pharmacia, and Searle. Dr. Liotta discovered three drugs that are now commercial, including Gilead's highly successful Emtriva, part of the world's top selling HIV cocktail, Truvada. In 2005, Gilead purchased the royalty interest to Emtriva from Emory for a one-time cash payment of $525 million.

"The group of people behind Metastatix is extremely proficient in drug discovery and development and has a strong track record for converting basic research into clinically effective and commercially successful drugs," said Dr. Robertson. "Metastatix has an accomplished and capable team, a promising biological target, and lead molecules with significant therapeutic potential and promising efficacy and safety profiles."

While CXCR4 has gained considerable attention as a target, there have been few safe and efficacious compounds reported. Metastatix has pioneered the development of a series of novel oral small-molecule CXCR4 inhibitors that have unprecedented biological activity and safety in preclinical models.

Metastatix, Inc.

Metastatix, Inc. is a privately held pharmaceutical company based in Atlanta, GA. Founded in 2005, the company is developing and commercializing effective, convenient, and safe small- molecule drugs to treat severely debilitating or life-threatening diseases including cancer, HIV infection, and macular degeneration. Metastatix is committed to developing drugs that are effective, convenient to take, and have few side effects. Metastatix has pioneered the development of a series of novel oral small-molecule CXCR4 inhibitors that have unprecedented biological activity in preclinical models. The company has licensed its technology from Emory University. For more information, visit www.metastatix.com

About H.I.G. Ventures

H.I.G. Ventures partners with entrepreneurs to provide the capital, expertise and relationships necessary to build market-leading businesses. With over $550 million in dedicated venture capital under management, the firm's team invests nationally in early to mid-stage information technology, life sciences and service businesses. H.I.G. Ventures is the venture capital affiliate of H.I.G. Capital, a leading private equity investment firm with over $3 billion of capital under management. H.I.G. Ventures has offices in Atlanta and Miami. For more information, visit www.higventures.com.

About The Aurora Funds

The Aurora Funds is a venture capital firm that provides capital, connections and strategic guidance to entrepreneurs with early-stage healthcare and information technology companies. Founded in 1994, Aurora manages over $230 million in five venture funds. Aurora has the capacity to invest a total of between $4 million and $8 million across multiple rounds of financing as the company matures. Aurora has invested in more than 60 companies across its five funds. The firm has co-invested with over one hundred venture funds as well as over 20 corporate investors. Aurora has had numerous successful exits through IPO's and M&A transactions. For more information, visit www.aurorafunds.com.

About CM Capital

CM Capital Investments is a leading Australian based venture capital fund with $200 million under management and is currently investing out of its third fund of $115 million. The partnership manages a fund specifically for investment in Australian technology and biotechnology based companies that can compete successfully on the global stage. These companies are encouraged to migrate part of their operations to North America where CM Capital has built links with the US Venture Capital industry. For more information visit www.cmcapital.com.

About SR One

SR One is GlaxoSmithKline's independent corporate healthcare venture capital fund. Based in West Conshohocken, PA, and London, U.K., SR One invests globally in emerging biotechnology companies that are engaged in drug discovery, development and delivery with the potential to yield dramatic patient benefits. Since its founding in 1985, SR One has invested over $400 million in more than 120 emerging biotechnology companies. For more information on SR One, its staff and portfolio companies, please visit www.srone.com.

About MedImmune Ventures

MedImmune Ventures, Inc. is a wholly owned venture capital subsidiary of MedImmune, Inc. It was created in 2002 to leverage the company's expertise in discovering, developing and commercializing biotechnology products, as well as its financial resources, to transform new ideas in biotechnology into successful products and companies. MedImmune Ventures invests in early- to late-stage, public or private biotechnology companies focused on discovering and developing human therapeutics. MedImmune Ventures primarily seeks to invest in areas of strategic interest to MedImmune, including infectious disease, immunology and oncology. For more information, visit www.MedImmune.com.


Source: H.I.G. Ventures

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