Investment in the risk capital of the pharmaceutical newco: PharmEste
PharmEste S.r.l., biopharmaceutical company born as a spin-off of the University of Ferrara, is dealing with R&D in the chemical pharmaceutical and pharmacological field with the aim to individuate new drugs with analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. Born in September 2003 from a group of University teachers of Ferrara and Florence (the professors Baraldi, Borea and Geppetti and their research teams), with the financial support of the VC Z-Cube, the company has set itself the goal to become leader in the R&D of new drugs with analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects in clinical area. The spin-off has initially dedicated itself to collect the team know-how in the chemical and pharmaceutical fields in an exclusive technological platform for the study of the family of the selective ion channels TRP (Transient Receptor Potential). The path to transform these discoveries in new therapeutic principles still requests large investments. In 2007 the company has therefore opened itself to capital risk investors, the Funds of VC Z-Cube (Zambon Group), Quantica SGR, ZernikeMeta Venture and Fondamenta (State Street Global Investment), which all together have financed the company for additional 3,2 million Euro. With such financial resources the company has been able to select a first team of managers and professionals which have led to the discovery and first pre-clinical development of the PHE377 molecule, capsaicin receptor antagonist, used for the treatment of the neuropathic pain besides allowing the enrichment of the research pipeline. In 2008 a second financing round of 6 million Euro arrived from Z-Cube, Quantica, MP Healthcare Management (investment fund of Mitsubishi Tanabe Group) and Emilia Venture (MPS Venture SGR), which has allowed to bring the PHE377 molecule to the Phase I of clinical study on the man and to strengthen the research lines with the discovery and optimization of second generation molecules antagonists of the TRPV1 (Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid). For 2011 are forecast the launch of the first studies of proof of concept (phase IIa) for the PHE377, with the test on some patients suffering from diabetic neuropathy and herpetic neuralgia dolour; additional financial resources will be necessary to finance them, resources which have already been allocated by the actual partners. For the third, last and most expansive experimentation phase of the medicine, the clinical phase III, forecasting the trial on thousands of patients, the company is already negotiating partnership agreements with large pharmaceutical groups. The market opportunity for PharmEste is coming from a real therapeutic need of new efficient and secure drugs for the treatment of neuropathic pain (diabetes mellitus, herpes zoster and backache).
What is the added value of the investment in PharmEste?
Francesca Natali, Responsible of the investment in PharmEste for ZernikeMeta Ventures: “The possibility for the company to accede to specialist competences present in the pool of investors that participated to the investment transaction”.
What is the distinctive element of ZernikeMeta Ventures?
Francesca Natali, Responsible of the investment in PharmEste for ZernikeMeta Ventures: “Ability to help the company in the access to private investment channels, able to support it in the growth and expansion phase, but also to individuate a potential success from the very beginning phases”.
Claudio Semeraro, CEO PharmEste: "The company is reaching all the objectives reported in the business plan, thanks to the innovative research line, to a team with a consolidated industrial experience and to the support of a group of Italian and international investors"