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Circassia raises £11 million in oversubscribed second funding round

29 January 2008

Imperial Innovations Group plc

(“Imperial Innovations”)

Imperial Innovations Group plc (AIM: IVO), today announces the investment of £11 million in biotechnology company Circassia Holdings Limited (“Circassia”), a company developing medicines designed to control immune system responses. Imperial Innovations’ investment of £1.75 million is part of an oversubscribed second round funding of Circassia, which includes new investors, Goldman Sachs and Invesco Perpetual, and existing investors, including Lansdowne Partners and Imperial Innovations. Following the investment, Imperial Innovations will hold a 13% stake in the company.

Circassia’s products address the global allergy market, which is currently underserved despite the huge numbers of sufferers. Estimates suggest that allergies affect approximately 25% of the population in the USA and Europe, and this figure is growing at 2.5% per annum [Source: Datamonitor]. Despite this, allergy treatments have a number of drawbacks either only addressing the symptoms or requiring expert supervision over many months due to potential serious, even life-threatening, adverse reactions. However, Circassia’s novel approach using its proprietary anti-allergy technology involves administering sections of the molecules that cause allergic reactions to desensitise sufferers. These sections, called T cell epitopes, are specifically selected to provide rapid efficacy whilst minimising potential adverse reactions in the patient.

Having completed preparations for the initiation of further phase II clinical studies in the last year, the company will use the proceeds from the investment to accelerate the development of its cat, ragweed, house dust mite and grass allergy vaccines to cure allergic rhinitis. The proceeds will also fund the acquisition and development of additional technologies. This includes further developing ToleroTrans – an organ anti-rejection technology acquired in July 2007 - and providing additional capital for other technology acquisitions in future.

This new investment follows a £6 million funding round completed in January 2007. The company has a strong management board in place with an outstanding record in the industry and who are experienced in building businesses. Sir Richard Sykes, Rector at Imperial College and formerly Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline is Chairman of the board. Charles Swingland (Deputy Chairman) and Steve Harris (CEO) were instrumental in the IPO of PowderJect and its subsequent £540 million sale to Chiron. More recently they were part of the team who sold Zeneus Pharma for US$360 million to Cephalon, Inc. Russ Cummings, Chief Investment Officer at Imperial Innovations is also a director of Circassia.

Susan Searle, CEO of Imperial Innovations, said,

“We are pleased that the potential of Circassia’s novel anti-allergy vaccines has been recognised by current and new investors in the biotechnology sector. We look forward to new developments in the company as it embarks on its next stage of growth.”

Steve Harris, CEO of Circassia, said,

“We are delighted that both our current and new investors are supportive and excited about the business. Imperial Innovations were particularly helpful, allowing management to remain focused on the rapid development of the technology.”


For more information contact:

Imperial Innovations

Susan Searle, Chief Executive Officer
+44 (0)20 7594 6591

Lucy Ahfong, Marketing Communications Executive
+44 (0)20 7594 6644


Harriet Totty / Eleanor Williamson
+44 (0)20 7153 1539


Steve Harris, CEO
+44 (0)1865 784574

Rob Budge (RJB Communications)
+44 (0)1865 760969

JPMorgan Cazenove (NOMAD to Imperial Innovations)

Steve Baldwin
+44(0)20 7588 2828

Notes to Editors

About Imperial Innovations
Imperial Innovations is one of the UK's leading technology transfer and commercialisation

Publisher Contact Information:

Imperial College Innovations Limited
+44 (0)20 7594 6591

Company profile of Touchstone Innovations (formerly Imperial Innovations)
Past press releases of Touchstone Innovations (formerly Imperial Innovations).


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