By Brady Huggett

Genteric Inc. closed a $22 million Series B financing and will use the funds to expand its development programs while it seeks corporate partnerships.

New investor MPM Capital, of Boston, led the round with first timer China Development Industrial Bank, of Taipei, Taiwan, also participating. Repeat investors in the round were Sanderling Ventures, of Menlo Park, Calif.; Alta Partners, of San Francisco; and MedVenture Associates, of Orinda, Calif.

¿Essentially, we will be expanding our research activities and getting our near-term project to the clinic,¿ said Roland Scollay, Genteric¿s vice president of research and chief scientific officer.

¿We think [the delivery platform] will be extremely flexible,¿ Scollay said. ¿We can treat a lot of different diseases. Almost any disease where systemic protein can function as a therapeutic, we have the opportunity to deliver it.¿

Scollay wouldn¿t comment on the company¿s burn rate, but gave Genteric¿s size as just under 25 employees. The company has raised more than $31 million to date, and Scollay said the plan is to make the next fundraising activity a public one.

¿We expect to be corporate partnering in the next year or two, and that, in combination with [the Series B financing], should carry us two to three years, at least,¿ Scollay said. ¿That should lead us to an initial public offering. That¿s the hope and expectation.¿

Privately held Genteric, of Alameda, Calif., owns exclusive rights to gene therapy technology platforms invented at the University of California¿s San Francisco and Davis campuses. Its drug delivery platform uses the gastrointestinal system¿s secretory organs ¿ the salivary glands, the pancreas, liver and intestines ¿ to produce and release therapeutic proteins into the bloodstream. Genteric was founded in 1997 and closed its more than $9 million Series A round in March 2000. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 30, 1999.)

Scollay said the technology delivers vectors to cells that line the gastrointestinal lumina space, causing therapeutic proteins to be secreted into both the lumina space and into the blood, where they can circle the body.

¿We are delivering systemic proteins without having to deliver to the system,¿ he said.

Because the platform delivers vectors, the indications for the technology are those diseases that can be treated by therapeutic proteins, Scollay said, although clotting factors VIII and IX have been selected as the lead products for Genteric¿s Secretory Systems program, because of risk and feasibility profiles that fit Genteric¿s platform.

Genteric has 10 patents issued and several more pending, and Scollay pointed to its intellectual property as a strength of the company. Modifying the technology to get the most out of it will play a large part in Genteric¿s future, he added.

¿We are definitely interested in grafting additional technology onto our platforms,¿ Scollay said. ¿We are interested in adding novel delivery approaches and constructs, doing that in the future and optimizing our technology by adding on. We expect to sign significant deals within the next year on a number of different technologies.¿

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