To further its "shift toward being a product-driven company while continuing to serve the pharmaceutical industry's needs," the French drug discovery company Synt:em raised EUR22 million (US$20.43 million) through what CEO Michel Kaczorek described as financing by a "high quality group of investors."

Paris-based Synt:em said it plans to use the proceeds for preclinical and clinical trials. The company has two main platforms. Acti:map is an informatics engine, for discovery and optimization of candidates shown to be active by assays and in animal models. Pep:trans comprises a series of proprietary peptide-derived molecules for transporting drugs across cellular membranes and the blood-brain barrier, which could be especially worthwhile in treating central nervous system (CNS) disorders.

Last April, Synt:em said animal studies using Pep:trans as a vector for delivery of doxorubicin, an anticancer agent, showed uptake in the brain improved by a factor of 20.

Existing shareholders Apax Partners & Cie, Banexi Ventures, and Healthcap were joined in an investment syndicate that includes co-leaders Lombard Odier & Cie, of Switzerland, and BankInvest, of Denmark. Others in the group are Rendex, of Belgium; Private Equity Holding, which is managed by the Vontobel Group, of Switzerland; Medicis, of Germany; and Mercure Biotech, of France.

- Randall Osborne