HAMBURG, Germany - Artemis Biopharmaceuticals GmbH closed a second round of financing, raising DM36 million (US$17.6 million). The capital will be used for the expansion of the company and the strengthening of research capacities.

The financing round consisting of DM26 million venture capital and DM10 million dormant equity holdings was joined by some new investors: Oppenheim Investor, of Cologne; Commerz Beteiligungsgesllschaft, of Frankfurt; and 3i Group Investments LP, of London and Dusseldorf, as lead investor. Technologie-Beteiligungs-Gesellschaft tbg, of Bonn, and TMK Technomedia, of Cologne, provided dormant equity capital. Investors of the first DM15 million financing round participated, too.

"We will invest the money for the expansion of our staff, the facilities, and for the securing and acquisition of intellectual property," Peter Stadler, CEO of Artemis, told BioWorld International. "And it will help us to enter into new cooperation agreements with universities. For the time being, we do not plan an acquisition."

Research activities will concentrate in the near future on the biology of bone and cartilage development, heart and circulation diseases, and mechanisms of angiogenesis. "We use zebrafish embryos as a model, and have already established some very valuable assays," Stadler said. "Embryos are transparent for a long time so that we can detect malformations and malfunctions, such as in cardiac rhythm, performance and the rate of the heart beat within seconds."

The company has established a strong alliance with Exelixis Pharmaceuticals, of South San Francisco, and entered a research cooperation in toxicology with Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, last year (see BioWorld International, Feb 9, 2000, and Nov. 17, 1999.)