NEW YORK, Dec 5 - Canadian proteomics company Caprion Pharmaceuticals said Tuesday it had raised $33.4 million in private financing in a deal managed by Yorkton Securities.
Lead investor Ventures West provided $6.7 million, bringing its total investment in Caprion to $8.6 million. T he financing follows on the heels of Micromass’ $7.5 million investment in Caprion, which was announced last month.
Lloyd Segal, Caprion president and CEO, said the company was now “as well financed as any competitor in proteomics,” to provide high-value digital information on sub-cellular organelle proteomics to pharmaceutical partners.
Segal would not disclose the company’s pharmaceutical partners, although he noted that Caprion’s proprietary process offers many advantages that should pique the industry’s interest in proteomics as a viable drug discovery tool.
“Pharmaceutical companies have been hesitating to write large-scale proteomics contracts,” said Segal, noting that new technology such as Caprion’s should usher in a higher degree of collaboration between proteomics companies and big pharma.
The financing is earmarked to support a new high-resolution spatially resolved and mass spectrometry-based research center that Caprion plans to open in Montreal in May. Micromass will lead the design and engineering of the large-scale protein identification facility and the two companies will collaborate in gaining new intellectual property with applications in proteomics and protein identification, which the companies will share equally.
The partnership will be in effect for at least three years and each company has retained the right to freely sell instruments and services without restrictions.
Caprion’s cell mapping technology reveals how proteins work at the level of single organelles, including spatial and 3-D orientation information, an approach that Segal said differs from that of most proteomics competitors, who work at the tissue level.
“We are bringing a change to the potential resolution of proteins at the sub-cellular level,” he said. “We haven’t seen anyone that is taking a cell-mapping approach.”
The company has a licensing agreement with Idexx for the first protein it discovered. Under the terms of the agreement, the prion protein is now being explored as a diagnostic tool to determine if live animals carry mad cow disease.
Segal said he was confident that Caprion would be able to compete on a par with global competitors.
“Proteomics has not been as clear in its goals as genomics,” he said. “We’re still in the first half of the first inning of the game. No clear winners have appeared yet.”