Dyax Corp. has raised $13.5 million in a private financing and has earmarked the funds for the further development of its phage display technology.
The financing drew two new investors, GMM Investors, of Wellesley, Mass., and BancBoston Ventures, of Boston, as well as existing ones: Prince Ventures, of Westport, Conn., New York Life Venture Capital, of New York, Oak Investment Partners, of Westport, Gateway Associates, of St. Louis, Hambrecht & Quist, of New York, and Loeb Partners, of New York.
Karen Roberts, director of finance at Dyax, told BioWorld Today that in addition to further commercial development of the technology, the Cambridge, Mass., company is attempting to combine its phage display with the company's existing separations business, partially located in Charlottesville, Va.
Dyax's phage display technology provides an efficient and sensitive means of identifying and capturing desired molecules from complex mixtures. Conceptually, most pharmaceutical products are based on a system of "locks" (therapeutic targets: molecules or enzymes) and "keys" (compounds which link to a therapeutic target).
Researchers start with either the lock in the form of an assay or screen or a key in the form of a candidate compound, and then search for the appropriate partner. This matching process often involves trying thousands of combinations in a tedious, labor-intensive, trial-and-error search. Phage display condenses this process by enabling researchers to try millions of possible combinations over a short period of time.
The separations division makes systems for the purification of pharmaceuticals. Purification is the largest component of commercial production costs for biopharmaceuticals and can be a major factor delaying new product introductions.
Dyax is using its phage display technology to develop affinity chromatography separations products which will reduce the time required for introduction of new products and reduce the cost of new production scale purification of pharmaceuticals.
Dyax is a privately held company created in 1995, when Protein Engineering Corp. merged with Biotage Inc. in Charlottesville. This financing is Dyax's first since the merger. *