Dynamism boosts technological progress in innovative immunotherapies

Tübingen-based immatics biotechnologies GmbH successfully completes additional financing round and is named one of Europe's best 100 privately owned companies.

Tübingen-based biopharmaceutical company immatics biotechnologies GmbH, founded in September 2000 and specialising in the development of highly specific medications based on tumour-associated peptides, was chosen by US media company "Red Herring" as one of the 100 best privately owned companies in Europe. Every year, Red Herring names the best 100 companies that are making a name for themselves with innovative technologies and business models. This year, the panel of judges looked at more than 600 promising young companies from Europe and Israel. Of the best 100 for 2005, eight companies are from Germany including immatics, the only business from the life sciences sector. The judges were particularly impressed by the innovative technology driving forward the rapid clinical development of diverse drug candidates for treating various cancers and the characterisation of additional tumour antigens relevant for immunotherapy. BioRegio STERN Managing Director Dr. Klaus Eichenberg declared himself delighted with the company's success: "This award once again pays testament to the international focus of companies in the region." The awards ceremony takes place on Tuesday 12 April 2005 as part of a three-day technology conference in London.

Also proud of the company's achievement is the consortium led by Wellington Partners of Munich and 3i Group of London that recently invested an additional Euro 5.8 million in the Tübingen company. immatics has therefore increased the volume of its initial financing round to more than Euro 14 million. "The new financing round will allow immatics to further strengthen its product pipeline and progress rapidly into the clinic," says Rainer Strohmenger of lead investor Wellington Partners.

"Supported by the latest, successful financing round and a strong investor base, the company will intensify the clinical development of its growing portfolio of highly innovative drug candidates for cancer immunotherapy as well as the cooperation with industrial partners," says Chairman of the Board Thomas Widmann. immatics CFO Jörg Scheidle commented, "We are pleased to have completed a financing round of this size, which emphasises the growing importance of peptides as a novel class of cancer drug candidates for decision makers in the industry."

In addition to the existing consortium comprising Grazia Equity, Landes-kreditbank Baden-Württemberg-Förderbank (L-Bank), SEED, Merifin Capital and embl ventures, Swiss venture capital companies Vinci Capital-Renaissance and LOTOWI AG are now also backing the company. Last year, immatics employed 13 staff, who developed new drug candidates for treating various cancers. This year, however, the company has a workforce of over 25 and this figure is set to double over the next 18 months.

This year immatics is to begin the clinical development of initial product candidates for treating renal cell cancer, which affects more than 100,000 people in industrial nations annually. The company also plans to start clinical trials of its drug candidates for treating cancer of the pancreas and colon in 2006.