Phytera Inc. announced Monday that it has raised $10.1 millionin its second round of private financing. The Worcester, Mass.,company, which is seeking to develop plant-basedpharmaceuticals, closed the round in December.
The latest round of financing will leave the company withapproximately $9 million in cash on hand, Malcolm Morville,Phytera's president and chief executive, told BioWorld.Although the company had projected a cash burn ofapproximately $4 million for 1994, he said that figure might be"changing dramatically" as the company ramps up its in vitroresearch and development efforts of anti-viral and anti-fungalagents. Phytera will move into a new R&D facility in Worcesterin about two months, he added.
Phytera, founded in May 1992 as Plant Pharmaceuticals Inc.,was launched with $1.75 million in seed financing fromCommonwealth BioVentures Inc., Dillon, Read Venture Capitaland BancBoston Ventures Inc. These investors also took part inthe latest round of financing, joined by D. Blech & Co. Inc.,Morningside N.A. Ltd., Clariden Asset Management, CRManagement Associates Inc. and Deltec Asset ManagementCorp. Phytera's most recent financing was last July, when itraised $2 million in a private placement.
Phytera manipulates plants in tissue culture to encourage thegrowth of chemicals the plants would not produce naturally.The company hopes this strategy will produce a broaderdiversity of compounds than other plant-based pharmaceuticalcompanies are able to collect. In November, the companyannounced a collaborative agreement with AmershamInternational plc to identify diagnostic enzymes from its plantcell culture library. Amersham intends to use the enzymes toimprove its kits for detection of DNA and proteins.
-- Karl A. Thiel Associate Editor
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