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Posted: Jul 25, 2012

RUSNANO and Domain Associates Announce First Joint Investment

(Nanowerk News) RusnanoMedInvest (RMI, a portfolio company of RUSNANO) and Domain Associates, the Princeton, NJ- and San Diego, CA-based venture capital firm today announced their first investment under a joint agreement reached in March. The two will jointly invest nearly $40 million in San Diego, CA-based, CoDa Therapeutics, a Domain portfolio company, along with current investors GBS Ventures (Melbourne, Australia) and BioPacificVentures (Auckland, NZ).
CoDa Therapeutics owns a platform technology based on gap junction modulation for the treatment of wounds and inflammation and is the developer of Nexagon®, its lead pharmaceutical candidate now being tested for the treatment of chronic wounds including venous leg ulcers and diabetic foot ulcers. There are millions of diabetic foot ulcer and venous leg ulcer patients in Russia and CIS-countries and the demand for effective pharmaceutical treatments for these conditions is high.
The unique joint venture between Domain Associates and RUSNANO created a partnership that will invest $760 million in emerging life sciences technology companies in the Domain portfolio, foster the transfer of technology into Russia, and establish a pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing facility for the production of advanced therapeutic products in Russia that meets GMP standards. The partners have engaged Team Drive, a management company, headed by Leonid Melamed — a top business management executive in Russia, to develop the project.
The investment in CoDa Therapeutics will be used to complete clinical research trials of Nexagon® in the U.S. and Russia, leading to registration of the product in major global markets, including Russia, by 2016. The collaboration between RUSNANO and Domain Associates is structured to expand the pharmaceutical industry sector within Russia.
To expedite the achievement of the joint investors’ goals, NovaMedica, a Russian pharmaceutical company, has been established. It will hold the rights in Russia to products developed by Domain portfolio companies receiving funds from the joint investment agreement.
"The acquisition of a stake in CoDa Therapeutics is the first transaction of the strategic partnership with Domain Associates," said Olga Shpichko, RUSNANO Managing Director. "We are confident our investment in the future of the pharmaceutical drug product Nexagon® will considerably improve the treatments available in Russia for a number of complex diseases, which present a significant social problem today."
"We are pleased that CoDa Therapeutics has been selected as the first strategic investment of the Domain Associates/RUSNANO partnership," said Brian Dovey, a partner in Domain. "This unique and significant fund will enable many promising therapeutic technologies under development by Domain portfolio companies to come to market sooner than might otherwise have been possible."
CoDa’s patented Nexagon® technology is unique. "There is no similar product available in or under development in Russia," said Tatiana Saribekian, CEO of Domain Russia Investments (DRI), the company created by Domain to facilitate, implement and manage its joint investments in Russia. "Investing in CoDa Therapeutics is the perfect transaction to launch Domain and RUSNANO’s pharmaceutical development and production investment strategy."
"We welcome this collaborative investment in our late-stage development of Nexagon®," said Bradford J. Duft, President and CEO of CoDa Therapeutics. "The additional capital will allow us to build on our Phase 2a success and conduct later stage clinical trials, as well as test and extend our technology into additional indications." CoDa is currently conducting a 300-patient Phase 2b trial for the treatment of people with venous leg ulcers and a 160-patient diabetic foot ulcer trial.
"This deal is one of the first examples of a systematic approach to venture investments in life sciences by Russian companies based on international practices. The agreement was prepared by the RMI team of professionals in medicine, investments and marketing with Domain’s expert technologies," said Leonid Melamed, CEO of Team Drive. "The experience gained will be useful not only in putting together the next transactions as part of this investment agreement, but also could be used as a model of new investment opportunities in the Russian pharmaceutical industry".
RUSNANO was founded in March 2011 as an open joint stock company through reorganization of state corporation Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies. RUSNANO’s mission is to develop the Russian nanotechnology industry through co-investment in nanotechnology projects with substantial economic potential or social benefit. The Government of the Russian Federation owns 100 percent of the shares in RUSNANO. Anatoly Chubais is CEO and chairman of the Executive Board of RUSNANO.
Work to establish nanotechnology infrastructure and training for nanotechnology specialists, formerly conducted by the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies, has been entrusted to the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs, a non-commercial fund also established through reorganization of the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies.
Venture Company RosnanoMedInvest (RMI) is a subsidiary of RUSNANO, a 100 perecent Russian state-owned company whose mission is to develop the Russian nanotechnology industry through co-investment in nanotechnology projects with substantial economic potential or social benefit. RMI was founded in 2012 to realize advanced projects in medicine and pharmaceuticals involving the transfer of intellectual property rights and modern pharmaceutical production technology to Russia.
Source: RUSNANO (press release)

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