LONDON — The drug discovery company Synt:em SA has completed a US$4.4 million financing to support the next phase of its growth.

New backers of the company, which was founded in 1995, include the international venture capitalists Apax Partners and Banexi Ventures.

Synt:em, of Nimes, France, said it will spend most of the money on the further development of its proprietary Pep:Trans technology, a drug delivery system based on peptide-derived vectors that are able to cross the cell membrane. The company believes this will overcome the common drug discovery dilemma of molecules which are effective in vitro but fail in vivo, due to low bioavailability or because they cannot cross biological membranes. — Nuala Moran