Xenome Raises $6 Million

Xenome Ltd., an Australian developer of peptide drugs for the treatment of pain and inflammation, has raised $6 million from GBS Venture Partners. GBS also committed an undisclosed amount of future funding. Xenome plans to go public next year.


Biopharmaceutical company Xenome Limited (“Xenome”) today announced it has received a convertible note placement of US$6 million from GBS Venture Partners, a Melbourne based life sciences specialist that invests in unlisted and listed high growth companies involved in innovative technologies.

Xenome is developing peptide drugs for improved treatments in the fields of pain and inflammation.  Pain is a large and unmet market and an area of growing importance as a result of an aging population. 

Xen2174 is Xenome's lead drug candidate and has recently completed safety testing in cancer patients with severe pain; results are to be announced next month. Later this year Xenome will initiate a phase II clinical trial to determine the safety and efficacy of Xen2174 in post-surgical pain.

The GBS investment reflects the increased interest that Xenome has attracted over the past year.  In that period it has completed enrolment into the Xen2174 cancer pain study; executed a discovery partnership with Amylin Pharmaceuticals; raised over $15M from existing and new investors; and made major changes to its management team, including the appointment of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Ian Nisbet, Chief Medical Officer Dr Wendy Martin and other VP level appointments.

The US$6 million investment will assist Xenome to progress its clinical trial program, advance other development programs, and prepare the company for an Initial Public Offering anticipated for 2009. Additionally, GBS has agreed to invest further funds as a cornerstone investor in the IPO.

Dr Ian Nisbet, CEO of Xenome said: “We are delighted that GBS has made this significant investment in Xenome.  GBS brings substantial credibility in the Australian and US capital markets and provides a broad network of clinical, regulatory, business development and investor connections.

“We look forward to working with GBS as we move into the next phase of development with Xen2174. The fundraising will also enable us to advance preclinical programs directed towards other potential treatments for pain and inflammation,” continued Dr Nisbet.

Dr Andrew Baker, Associate Director of GBS Ventures added: “Xenome is developing new drugs that could have a significant impact on the quality of life of people suffering the debilitating effects of chronic or acute pain.  These drugs have the potential to provide improved efficacy and fewer side effects than existing pain treatments.  They are also non-addictive, which is a significant benefit over many current drugs, where drug-dependency and abuse are major problems.”

Dr Baker will join the Board of Xenome.

About Xenome:

Xenome is a biotechnology company that is focused on the discovery and development of peptide-based therapeutics.  The Company's lead product, Xen2174, is a novel conopeptide analogue for the treatment of severe pain.  Enrolment into an international phase I/II clinical trial in patients with cancer pain was recently completed and a phase II study in post-operative pain is due to commence in 2008. 

Xenome's discovery platform is based on a proprietary library of venom peptides.  Late in 2007 Xenome and Amylin Pharmaceuticals entered into a partnership to screen Xenome's library for new drug candidates against metabolic disease targets.  Both Xen2174 and the Amylin partnership leverage off Xenome's unique expertise in peptide chemistry and its ability to translate the evolutionary advantages inherent in venom peptides into highly bioactive, drug-like molecules.

About GBS:

GBS Venture Partners is one of Australia's leading life science venture capital groups with a decade of success investing in, and adding value to innovative technology companies. The GBS team has been investing in Australasia since 1996 and played founding roles in companies with a combined market capitalisation of more than $2 billion. GBS Venture Partners has an expert team who provide high level strategic support to company management to create sustainable value in their portfolio companies.