BioWorld International Correspondent

Ingenium AG will not be waiting until the holidays arrive to celebrate, having closed its third round of private financing, raising €13.8 million.

"We drew more investment because we were able to execute everything we promised after restructuring in 2002," Michael Nehls, Ingenium CEO, said. "Everything that we communicated to our investors, we did, and that translated into continued support for management."

Ingenium, of Munich, Germany, will use the new capital to strengthen the company's research and development efforts, adding personnel and moving its products closer to clinical testing.

"Most of the money will go to our internal research pipeline," Nehls said.

Nehls said that the company's hybrid approach to business also found favor in Germany's difficult financing climate.

"The timing was good, too, because we were not under pressure to find additional funding, and through the year we have had steady news about new partnerships and progress in our scientific work," Nehls said.

Before the third round was closed, the company had funding for more than a year of operations at its current pace. Following the investment and anticipating some growth in partnership revenue, the company has capital to cover more than three years of operations.

"Our partnerships, and the fact that we restructured relatively early, together created a lot of credibility with investors," Nehls said. "These factors also brought new investors to take a look at us."

Ingenium draws substantial revenue from a partnership with Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland. Additional partners include the Universities of Tuebingen and Duesseldorf in Germany, as well as Sequenom Inc., of San Diego, and Oxagen Ltd., of Abingdon, UK.

The company's business model also calls for revenue to come from its deductive genomics technologies, while long-term growth is expected to come from drug discovery and development in areas such as diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease. The company also has programs in neurodegeneration and pain management.

"We are anticipating announcing more scientific developments very soon," Nehls said. "Investors were pleased that we are clearly on the upswing in both partnering and science." He declined to speculate on how soon Ingenium's lead compounds would enter clinical testing.

New investors HBM BioVentures (Cayman) Ltd. led the round, with current investors TVM Techno Venture Management and Polaris Venture Partners joining as co-leads. Additional current investors who contributed to the round of financing include Ascenion GmbH, Index Ventures, IKB, Schroder Ventures Life Sciences and Sofinnova Partners.

Ingenium was founded in 1998 as a spinout of the German Human Genome Project. Since then, it has raised more than €65 million in private investment capital.