DUBLIN, Ireland - Unimed, a Dublin-based pharmaceutical research company, has folded, following its failure to raise funding on the U.K. money markets.

The company had raised about IEP4.5 million (US$6.45 million) in total, dating back to its first financing in 1994. Last year, it sought up to #7 million (US$11.43 million) more from U.K. institutions, said John Mumford at London-based Williams de Broe plc, which acted as Unimed's stockbroker. "Sadly, that money couldn't be raised," he said. Mumford attributed this failure to the poor market conditions for biotechnology last year. The company went into liquidation Dec. 18.

Unimed's level of debt is quite low. According to Jim Luby at Dublin-based McStay & Co., which is handling the liquidation, the company owes its creditors IEP400,000. He is hopeful that Unimed's shareholders, which primarily consist of U.K. institutions, will receive a pay-out once assets have been sold off. "We're very hopeful that we can find somebody to take on some, if not all, of the [company's] projects and patents," he said.

Unimed has programs in the areas of cardiovascular research, gastrointestinal disease and respiratory care. It has filed 25 patent applications, five of which have been granted, said Mumford. Its cardiovascular program is based on a new series of aspirin derivatives, aspirinates and aspirinamides. In the gastrointestinal arena, it has been working on novel vaccines for Helicobacter pylori, while its respiratory research is based on a series of novel anti-inflammatory compounds called indanes.

The company's H. pylori research was the subject of a licensing agreement with Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., last year. It entered research agreements with the University of Alabama at Birmingham; Trinity College, in Dublin; University College Galway; and Queens University, in Belfast.

Unimed was established by two Dublin-based medical practitioners, William Byrne and Andrew Wrynne, and London-based fund manager Philip Douglas.

The founders brought in management with pharmaceutical industry experience to run Unimed, but the company experienced several management disputes, which ended up in court. Luby and Mumford denied that these difficulties contributed to Unimed's downfall.