LONDON ¿ The bioinformatics company Inpharmatica Ltd., of London, has received #3 million (US$4.8 million) from 3i plc and GIMV, in the second round of funding since the company was launched in October 1997.

CEO Ken Powell told BioWorld International that the money would last two years, seeing the company through to profitability.

¿Inpharmatica plans to provide a service function, so we are not looking for deep or long-lasting commitments from our investors,¿ Powell said. The exit route will be a trade sale or an initial public offering, with timing depending on the state of the stock markets.

New Antibiotic Target Structure Identified

¿Now, we have the funding in place we can concentrate on making sure the product is the best available,¿ said Powell. The company¿s first product, to be launched in June 1999, is a consolidated database of all the genomics databases currently available in the public domain. Inpharmatica has developed data mining tools for analyzing the database to determine protein function from gene sequence, and thus uncover gene targets not identified by standard bioinformatics software. It will also provide its software for companies to analyze proprietary sequence information. Inpharmatica said it is in late stage negotiations with a number of pharmaceutical companies.

Using the software, Inpharmatica¿s development director, Mark Swindells, and his team recently identified the structure of a potential new antibiotic target.

Inpharmatica was established with #1 million of private funding to commercialize software developed at University College London, and the Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research, in London. The company¿s chief scientist, Janet Thornton, has 20 years of research experience in protein-structure prediction and comparative modeling. n