BioWorld International Correspondent

Pantec Biosolutions AG raised CHF6.3 million (US$5.6 million) in a first closing of a Series A round to fund development of its laser microporation technology, which is designed to boost delivery of large molecular weight drugs across the skin.

"There might be a second closing. That's subject to negotiations," Christof Böhler, CEO of Ruggell, Liechtenstein-based Pantec Biosolutions told BioWorld International. Gamma Capital Partners, of Vienna, Austria, is leading the round, and private investors in Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Liechtenstein also are participating.

Pantec Biosolutions was established to commercialize a concept developed by the in vitro fertilization expert Herbert Zech, who is director of the Institutes for Reproductive Medicine and Endocrinology, in Bregenz, Austria. It involves the use of a laser source to burn off a small area on the top layer or epidermis of the skin to allow the passage of large molecules from a skin patch into the underlying dermis.

With the help of a sister company, Ruggell-based Pantec Engineering AG, Pantec Biosolutions has developed a handheld device incorporating its Laser Easy Drug Delivery Technology (LEDDT), which, Böhler said, "cooks" the moisture in the epidermis, causing it to evaporate, but without causing thermal damage or protein coagulation. "It is a pretty high-end tool," he said. The blood vessels and nerve tissue in the underlying dermis are unaffected, and the procedure is therefore painless, he said.

The company is targeting the IVF market initially, as women undergoing IVF procedures take multiple hormone injections over a single treatment cycle. "It's a very non-fragmented market. We're talking about 400 clinics in the U.S," Böhler said.

It has completed a study in 12 healthy volunteers, which indicated that the procedure was safe and well tolerated, and it now plans to undertake a bioavailability study to assess whether the technique delivers the required systemic dose of drug.

The company anticipates completing an FDA filing in 2010. "We are seeking a combination product filing," Böhler said. It also is developing the LEDDT platform for application in other areas, including immunology, and particularly conditions with unmet medical needs.

"We're basically aiming at large molecules, biopharmaceuticals, that require multiple injections every week over very long periods of time," Böhler said.

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