Malin, the Irish-based company set up by a number of former Elan executives to invest in privately held life science assets, has invested $80 million (€73m) in the British biotech firm Immunocore.
The group also announced its intention to raise up to €42 million in a placing of up to 3,857,999 new ordinary shares, representing up to 10 per cent of the firm’s conditional enlarged issued share capital, at a price of €10.99 per share. The net proceeds of the placing will be used to invest further in Malin’s existing businesses, it said.
Malin joined Woodford Investment Management, Eli Lilly, RTW Funds in a £320 million financing round for Immunocore, in what is reported to be Europe's largest ever Series A life sciences financing.
Malin's investment in Immunocore is to be financed through its own cash reserves. The group's chief executive Adrian Howd and director Kelly Martin are to join the Oxfordshire-based firm's board.
Immunocore, which was spun out of Oxford University in 2008, is developing novel T cell receptor (TCR) based therapies with the potential to treat a variety of cancers, viral infections and autoimmune diseases. The company employs 155 staff and in the financial year ended 30th September 2014, it recorded revenues of approximately £6.4 million and a loss of approximately £5.6 million.
“Given its unique and innovative science, a balanced pipeline with possible applications across a number of therapeutic areas, and first class executive team and board leadership, we believe Immunocore has the potential to create a highly unique premier biotech company and establish itself as a substantial enterprise and thought leader within the industry,” said Mr Howd.
The proceeds from the funding round are to enable the company to further accelerate its pipeline of ImmTACs (Immune mobilising mTCR Against Cancer). ImmTACs are a new class of bispecific biologics which have the potential to treat a broad range of solid tumours either as monotherapies or in combination with other therapies
Immunocore said it also intends to focus on progressing its lead proprietary programme, IMCgp100, which produced positive Phase I/IIa trial data announced in April 2015 in patients with advanced metastatic cutaneous and ocular melanoma. The company is carrying out combination trials with Medimmune and Lilly.
"We believe this is another endorsement of our technology, our novel class of TCR based biologic therapies, of our mission to build a world-leading biotechnology company and of the outstanding scientists at Immunocore," said chief executive Dr Eliot Forster.
“This funding will be invaluable in assisting us to continue the rapid advancement of IMCgp100 in the clinic and the further development of our internal portfolio of ImmTACs. This supports us in our mission to build a premier biotech company based on our ImmTAC technology platform,” he added.
Earlier this month Malin acquired a 38 per cent shareholding in Dublin-based 3D4Medical for a consideration of $16.4 million.As part of the deal, Malin also has an option to increase its shareholding to 50 per cent.
In March, the group raised €330 million from international investors in its debut on the Irish Stock Exchange in one of the largest life science IPS ever to take place in Europe.