TEL AVIV, Israel - Clal Biotechnology Industries Ltd. (CBI), Israel's largest focused life sciences' investment management entity, completed its first private placement outside of Israel by signing the final agreements to commit approximately $13 million to Immuno-Designed Molecules SA (IDM).

CBI acted as the lead investor in the financing and, together with its consortium partners, Tel Aviv-based Poalim Investments Ltd. and Herzlia-based StiVentures, is slated to provide approximately 10 percent of the Paris-based company's share capital.

Since its inception in 1993, IDM has raised over $26 million from leading European venture capital organizations, such as APAX, Banexi, Atlas Venture and Sofinnova. IDM is developing and commercializing a portfolio of cell processing techniques and immunotherapy-boosting products called Cell Drugs, individually designed using a patient's own immune system to treat his illness, cancer or infectious disease.

Two platform Cell Drug approaches, MAK and Dendritophage, are designed to destroy residual tumor cells and to immunize patients against tumor recurrence. The company already has a network of cell processing facilities in use to perform and monitor an extensive clinical program.

IDM's proprietary technology is secured by 21 issued patents and 57 patent applications.

David Haselkorn, CBI's CEO, told BioWorld International, "We are pleased to become a substantial shareholder in IDM. Our in-depth due diligence revealed impressive science and management with great prospects for IDM's platform technology and pipeline of products through its active partners and robust business model."

IDM's major partner, which also holds a stake in the company, is Princeton, N.J.-based Medarex Inc., a leading biotechnology company in the field of antibody-based therapeutics.

Established in mid-1998 by the Israeli industrial group Clal Industries and Investments Ltd. in Tel Aviv, CBI has accumulated a proprietary database of more than 220 potential investments, investing about half of the more than $100 million in its coffers to create a portfolio of companies that includes Rehovot-based D-Pharm Ltd. and Peptor Ltd.; Tel Aviv-based Compugen Ltd.; Petach Tikva-based NeuroSurvival Technologies Ltd.; and Haifa-based Polyheal Ltd.

Ophir Shahaf, vice president for business development at CBI, said, "CBI appreciates IDM's aggressive endeavors to expand its platform technology base into therapies against a wide range of cancers, immune disorders, transplant rejections and infectious diseases."

IDM's pipeline includes a product for treatment of ovarian cancer in Phase III clinical trials; four other products (for treating prostate, bladder, melanoma and leukemia cancers) in Phase II; another (against metastatic cancers) in Phase I/II; and seven products in preclinical stages.

Consistent with the targeting of IDM, Haselkorn said, "We envision greater interaction with other Israeli companies, in cooperation with IDM's management, both within and outside of CBI's current portfolio." He added that CBI also is "contemplating another investment in an American company dealing with diagnosis of cancer and in a European proteomics and bioinformatics company."

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