BioWorld International Correspondent

PARIS - Fifteen months after its establishment in May 2004, Biosystems International is close to finalizing a collaboration in cancer with a medical research establishment in France, a license agreement with a U.S. university and two research contracts.

Biosystems' chief operating officer, François Liebaert, said the deals not only will serve to validate the company's technology and business strategy, but also will start generating revenues in 2006.

Liebaert told BioWorld International that the €3 million (US$3.7 million) the company raised in the first financing it closed in February would last it for two to three years, but that the company was planning a second funding round in 18 months.

Biosystems International is based at the Genopole, France's national biotechnology science and business park at Evry, south of Paris. It was founded by Laszlo Takacs, its CEO and chief scientific officer, who was formerly genomics and bioinformatics manager of the Pfizer research center in the Paris suburb of Fresne, together with three specialists in proteomics and separation techniques, who also hail from Pfizer. As for Liebaert, he previously worked for Schering-Plough Corp., of Kenilworth, N.J., and Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill.

Biosystems International aims to discover and develop new and improved biomarkers for drugs and diagnostic tests. Its technology platform and know-how enable Biosystems to identify biomarkers that are either disease-specific or specific to pathological processes in a short time and in a manner compatible with the constraints of clinical development protocols. Those indicators make it possible to identify a disease, monitor its development and evaluate the efficacy of a treatment. Hence, they could contribute to a substantial reduction in the cost and duration of clinical trials, while improving the medical monitoring of patients, the company said.

Biosystems' strategy is to generate short-term cash through fee-for-service activities on behalf of biopharmaceutical companies, and to develop and market diagnostic tests in the medium to long term either on its own account or in partnership with diagnostics companies.

In particular, it is engaged in a research program with the University of Debrecen in Hungary, and it established a Hungarian subsidiary in April, which now has a staff of four. That project is mainly being funded by a €500,000 research grant from the Hungarian Research Ministry.

Biosystems' initial money was provided by two funds managed by Paris-based Société Générale Asset Management (SGAM), the venture capital subsidiary of the French bank Société Générale. The investment protocol concluded between Biosystems and SGAM provided for two of the latter's funds, FCPI Gen-1 and SOGE Innovation 7, to invest the €3 million in two tranches.

Biosystems International employs seven people in France, but Liebaert said it is in the process of recruiting a business development manager.

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