Glycobiology company Oxford GlycoSystems Ltd. (OGS) of theUnited Kingdom announced Wednesday that it has raised $13.5million in private financing, primarily from institutionalinvestors and venture capital companies in the U.K., the U.S.,Europe and Japan.
The new investors in the privately held company includeHambrecht & Quist Inc., Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., BiotechnologyInvestments Ltd., Innolion (Credit Lyonnais), CooperativeInsurance and Technology Funding of California. The financingwas managed by the U.K. investment bank Kleinwort BensonLtd.
OGS was founded in 1988 to commercialize technologydeveloped at Oxford University, which continues to invest inthe company, including during the current round. Earlyinvestors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Advent and S.R. One(the venture capital arm of SmithKline Beecham) alsoparticipated in the current OGS financing.
The $13.5 million fills the company's coffers, although it was"always in good financial position," explained Dale Pfost, OGS'spresident and chief executive officer. "We had very goodsupport from our existing investors and a really strong finish inthe financing, which closed Aug. 13," Pfost told BioWorld.
OGS is developing technologies for mapping, analyzing andsequencing carbohydrates, or oligosaccharides, which are amajor class of molecules that often serve critical biologicalroles.
Oligosaccharides have been shown to act as ligands in cell-cellrecognition, to modulate critical cellular activities and to affectglycoprotein function. And many if not most recombinanttherapeutic proteins and peptides are glycosylated. It's oftenthe pattern of sugars on those proteins, or the particular sugarmoieties, which ultimately determines the molecule'stherapeutic efficacy.
OGS has developed and is marketing instrumentation forpreparing carbohydrates for analysis (GlycoPrep 1000) and formapping those carbohydrates (GlycoMap 1000). The companyis also selling biochemical compounds. Its revenues fromproduct sales in fiscal 1992 were about $2.5 million. Thoseshould almost double this year, Pfost said.
The company is almost ready to introduce its third instrument,the "world's first carbohydrate sequencer," the RAAM 1000GlycoSequencer. The instrument, which will cost about $70,000,is able to reduce the amount of time it takes to determine thesequence of an unknown carbohydrate from weeks or evenyears of work to "essentially an overnight run," Pfost toldBioWorld.
-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor
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