By Karen Pihl-Carey

Two months after completing a large private round of financing, the typically quiet Physiome Sciences Inc. announced Monday that it raised $50 million through that financing.

The privately held Princeton, N.J.-based company, which has kept a low profile since its 1996 inception, is beginning to emerge publicly as it sets out to expand its technologies and business.

"We regard this [financing] as being just the beginning step. There are a lot of steps that we will put together and that have been put together," said Jeremy Levin, chairman and CEO of Physiome. "The company has built a terrific head of steam and this just allows us to capitalize on that."

Investor AB, of Sweden, and Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, of London, led the round. New investors also included OrbiMed Advisors LLC, of New York; Lombard Odier and Cie, of Geneva, Switzerland; and CIT Group, of Livingston, N.J. Muzinich & Co. Inc., of New York, acted as placement agent for the financing.

Levin would not say specifically how long the $50 million would last Physiome, only that money is not an issue for the company. "We have more than adequate capital," he told BioWorld Today, "to sustain ourselves for a very substantial period."

Physiome develops and markets software tools, databases and web applications for simulating life processes, allowing scientists to build computer models based on genetic and physiological data. The technology enables scientists to generate predictive information, such as the effects of specific drugs on animals and humans, using their own data.

"These tools are designed to interface with all of the major IT and systems that are out there today in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies," Levin said. "What we're creating here is a platform of tools and databases and knowledge that is designed to take advantage of all of the terrific discoveries that have taken place."

Physiome's platform of technologies allows a company to describe everything from a protein function through to a disease, Levin said.

Physiome has a goal to become the leader in the field of biological modeling by providing the tools to simulate living cells, tissues and organs. The tools could become the basis to build the virtual human, the company said.

The company has kept a low profile to solidify collaborative relationships and intellectual property, Levin said. It has a collaboration with the University of Aukland in New Zealand to develop and maintain a standardized computer language, Cell Markup Language, for the virtual cell, tissue and organ models. It also has collaborations in place that have not yet been announced, and it will continue to enter into significant collaborations, Levin said.

As for entering the public markets, Physiome is quite content as a private company.

"The company is not planning an IPO [initial public offering] at this time at all," Levin said. "Our goal right now is just focusing on the business."

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