Merus Secures €31 Million in Series B Round Extension
Investment brings Series B to a total of €47.6 million
Johnson and Johnson Development Cooperation joins as new investor; receives board seat
Utrecht, The Netherlands, October 3, 2013 – Merus B.V., a biopharmaceutical company focusing on innovative human antibody therapeutics, today announced a €31 million (US$42 million) extension to its Series B financing round, bringing the total round to €47.6 million (US$65 million). Johnson and Johnson Development Cooperation (JJDC) joined as a new investor along with existing investors Novartis Venture Fund, Pfizer Venture Investments, Bay City Capital, LSP (Life Sciences Partners), and Aglaia Oncology Fund. A representative of JJDC will join Merus’ Board of Directors. Merus will use the new funds to broaden its portfolio of pre-clinical programs for the treatment of cancer patients and to bring its lead programs into phase I clinical testing.
“We view the continuing support of our investors as a strong endorsement of our technology, our team and our strategy,” said Ton Logtenberg, Chief Executive Officer of Merus. “We are particularly proud to welcome Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation to our investment consortium as our third big pharma corporate venture investor. As a next milestone, we are looking forward to moving our lead candidate into clinical development next year.”
The investment of JJDC in Merus B.V. was announced at the launch of the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Centre in London today.
Earlier this year, Merus presented encouraging research and preclinical data of MCLA-117, a product candidate to treat acute myeloid leukemia, a disease with very poor long-term prognosis. MCLA-117 is based on Merus’ proprietary Biclonics™ ENGAGE platform and is currently in development.
About Merus B.V.
Merus is a fully-integrated biotechnology company developing cancer therapeutics that combine the benefits of monoclonal antibodies with the ability of simultaneously addressing multiple targets. Merus has two lead programs in development, MCLA-128 for the treatment of solid tumors and MCLA-117 for the treatment of hematological malignancies. The company is also developing a broad pipeline of preclinical programs that are available for partnering. Merus’ technologies encompass the proprietary MeMo® transgenic mouse for common light-chain human antibodies and the CH3 heterodimerization technology for the production of full-length IgG Biclonics™. These Biclonics™ are robustly produced from a single clonal manufacturing cell line, using industry-standard systems. Merus’ Biclonics™ bind to multiple disease-associated targets, thereby eliminating tumor cells more efficiently and preventing treatment escape. In Merus´ Biclonics™ ENGAGE approach used in the MCLA-117 program, bispecific antibodies are used to induce the cytotoxic activity of T cells to kill cancer cells. All of Merus’ technologies are available for licensing.
For further information, please visit Merus´ website at www.merus.nl
About Novartis Bioventures
Established in 1996, the Novartis Venture Funds currently manage over US$850 million in committed capital and are invested globally in more than 50 private life sciences companies across therapeutics, vaccines, devices and diagnostics. As a financially driven corporate life science investor, the Novartis Venture Fund invests in those companies which have the potential to lead the next innovation wave in new areas that will be critical to patient care. The Novartis Venture Funds team of ten investment professionals located in Basel, Switzerland and Cambridge, Massachusetts, brings together extensive expertise in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry and venture capital.
Pfizer Venture Investments (PVI), the venture capital arm of Pfizer Inc., was founded in 2004 and invests for return in areas of current or future strategic interest to Pfizer. As part of the Worldwide Business Development, PVI seeks to remain at the forefront of life science advances, looking to identify and invest in emerging companies that are developing compounds and technologies that have the potential to enhance Pfizer’s pipeline and shape the future of our industry.
About Bay City Capital
Bay City Capital is a life sciences venture capital firm investing in opportunities across the various life sciences sectors in companies at all stages of development. Established in 1997, the firm has managed eight venture capital funds representing over $1.6 billion in capital commitments.
Bay City Capital has invested in over 100 life sciences companies globally, including Epizyme, Epocrates, GenturaDx, Hyperion Therapeutics, Ion Torrent Systems, Lexicon, MAP Pharmaceuticals, Medarex, Nabsys, NextWave Pharmaceuticals, Oculex Pharmaceuticals, Pharmion, Reliant Pharmaceuticals, and Sunesis Pharmaceuticals.
For more information, visit www.baycitycapital.com
LSP (Life Sciences Partners) is a leading independent investment firm providing financing for private and public life-science companies. Since the late 1980s, LSP’s management has invested in a large number of highly innovative enterprises, many of which have grown to become leaders of the global life-science industry. For example, LSP was a founding investor in Okairos, Movetis, Crucell, Qiagen and Rhein Biotech. With over EUR 600 million under management and offices in Amsterdam, Munich and Boston, LSP is one of Europe’s largest and most experienced specialist life-science investors.
About Aglaia Oncology Fund
Aglaia is a Dutch venture capital firm committed to creating and building biomedical companies in the field of oncology. In addition to providing the financial means, Aglaia plays an active role in building its portfolio companies up to the level where they gain the interest from pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Aglaia has two investment funds under management: Aglaia Oncology Fund and Aglaia Oncology Seed Fund.
Dr. Ludger Wess or Ines-Regina Buth
Tel. +49 (0)40 88 16 59 64 / +49 (0)30 2363 2768
S. Margetson – s.margetson(at)merus.nl
3584CH Utrecht, The Netherlands