Monday, August 6, 2001
Integrative Proteomics raised $25 million last week through a group of investors that looked more like a who's-who of life science instrumentation suppliers than an investor syndicate. The group included Vertex's newly acquired Aurora Biosciences subsidiary, which develops ultra-high throughput screening systems and two companies under the Bruker BioSpin Group umbrella - X-ray provider Bruker AXS, and the mass spec division Bruker Daltonics. VCs on the deal included Lombard Odier, Genesys Capital and HBM BioVentures.
Attracting corporate money was a conscious strategy for Integrative Proteomics, which tied in the equity arrangements as part of two collaborations signed with Aurora and Bruker BioSpin earlier this year. The company is building out a suite of technologies to bridge the gap between genomics and drug discovery, a task that often requires technology from outside parties. Equity ownership often can grease the tech-transfer wheel, according to Chairman and CEO John Mendlein.
"I think it's the shape of things to come," Mendlein said of the strategy of going after corporate venture capital. "It's a strategy more akin to the telecom space. Biotech's been behind the curve on that model, and will need to change its way of thinking because companies will have to assimilate different technologies to do drug discovery."
In addition to paving the way for technology-sharing or a more formal collaboration, Mendlein also believes equity stakes "can protect earnings stories while offering a long-term value capture."
Integrative was formed last August through the merger of Chalon Biotech and Borealis Biosciences (see BioCentury, Aug. 21, 2000). Its suite of instruments includes mass spec, NMR and X-ray crystallography for high throughput protein expression and purification, protein-protein interaction and three-dimensional structural determination. It also is developing a database of protein structure and function.
HBM put in $3.25 million, as did Genesys Capital. Lombard Odier put in $4 million. The financing values Integrative at $71 million.
There may have been some cross-fertilization. Daniel Richner, who is now working for HBM, was with Lombard Odier when it participated in the company's $8 million round last August. Meanwhile, Mendlein has old ties to Aurora, where he was part of the original management team as its chief knowledge officer and general counsel. Last month, VRTX completed its purchase of Aurora for about $600 million (see BioCentury, July 23).