Cambridge Biotech secures funding for anti-obesity drug

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Cambridge Biotechnology yesterday said it had raised £3.8m, which will be used partly to further the development of an anti-obesity drug.

Cambridge Biotechnology yesterday said it had raised £3.8m, which will be used partly to further the development of an anti-obesity drug.

Anthony Sedgwick, the chief executive, said of the group's anti-obesity drug development: "We have had much interest in our solution. Obesity is the problem of the future. People have tried to develop drugs in the past but have never succeeded."

Concern over obesity in children has attracted widespread comment from government ministers. There were reports last month that John Reid, the Secretary of State for Health, was considering a ban on junk food advertisements during television programmes aimed at children.

Tessa Jowell, the Secretary of State for Culture, said: "It's not so much that children are getting fatter because they are eating more, they're getting fatter because they're taking much less exercise."

Merlin Biosciences, an investment group put together by the biotechnology entrepreneur Chris Evans, formerly of Chiroscience and Celsis, owns about a quarter of Cambridge Biotechnology.

Mark Docherty, the Investment Director at Merlin, said: "The company is performing excellently and the refinancing is to broaden and deepen the product pipeline. Cambridge will continue their excellent work in development."

Merlin, the Cambridge Gateway Fund, Northern Venture Managers and Avlar Bioventures all participated in the financing although Johnson & Johnson turned down the opportunity for further investment. The syndicate of institutional investors originally put £6m of financing in place in July 2002.

Cambridge Biotechnology was set up in May 2001 and its founders originated from a Pfizer Global Research & Development drug discovery team. Dr Sedgwick said he was delighted with the new funding and the opportunity to "drive the programmes forward". If successful, a further tranche of funding will be required in 18 months' time to progress the drug to the next phase of development. The anti-obesity drug is based on a product which mimics the hormone leptin.

Comments