Cryopharm Corp. of Pasadena, Calif., a developer of blood products,has completed a private placement of $5 million through E.M.Warburg, Pincus and Company, Inc.Cryopharm specializes in viral inactivation in blood and bloodcomponents. The company also conducts research and developmentactivities for a cryopreservation technology it developed but sold toCOBE BCT Inc. in August 1993.Cryopharm was founded in 1987 with seed capital provided byWarburg, Pincus. By April 1992, Warburg had assisted Cryopharm toraise a total of $11.7 million. The new placement brings to $8 millionthe amount the company has raised since May 1993. The company has8.7 million common equivalent shares outstanding. About 80 percentof Cryopharm's shares are held by Warburg, according to Carl Brooks,Cryopharm's president and chief executive officer.Cryopharm's viral inactivation technology is a proprietary techniquefor the cost-effective viral inactivation of commercially valuablebiological cells and human or animal-derived blood plasma products.This core technology incorporates a non-toxic sensitizer, CP-38 - ahalogenated derivative of psoralens - that targets light energy ontoviruses. When platelets are irradiated with ultraviolet A radiation inthe presence of these sensitizers, a chemical reaction is initiated whichbreaks apart all viral nucleic acids (DNA/RNA). This renders virusesinactive and prevents them from replicating.The technology will be sold to blood banks in the form of a chemicalmolecule accompanied by an ultraviolet radiator about the size of alarge microwave that can process six to seven units of platelets withina few minutes.Cryopharm reported in December 1993 that in an in vitro test on HIV-1 virus, CP-38, when added to platelet concentrates, produced up to a10 million-fold reduction of viable virus without appreciable loss ofplatelet function.According to Brooks, Cryopharm's viral inactivation technology doesnot attack the membrane of the cell. He said it will work on virusesthat don't have a lipid envelope, such as hepatitis A and Parvo B-19,as well as on those that do, such as HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B.Brooks said the company is still in the pre-clinical phase of testing itsproduct. He said it plans to move from the in vitro to animal stagewithin the next six months, and hopes to file an IND toward the end ofthis year or early in 1995.Under Cryopharm's arrangement with COBE BCT, a division ofCOBE Laboratories, a U.S.-based wholly owned subsidiary ofSweden's Gambro Group, COBE paid $4.6 million to acquireCryopharm's cryopreservation technology.
-- Philippa Maister
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