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Warwick Effect Polymers Limited Attracts 1m Investment

Warwick Effect Polymers (WEP) has raised a further £1m of investment from new and existing venture capitalists and private investors to progress development and commercialization of its proprietary PolyPEGÒ and GlycoPolTM technologies. Together with income from its eight ongoing evaluation agreements with global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, the new funds will be used by WEP to progress further development of its technology platforms and to secure further agreements, licences to its patents, and manufacturing contracts.

 

WEP was a ‘spin-out’ from the University of Warwick in 2001 and has raised in excess of £3m to date in grants and investments. Its proprietary technology, in particular PolyPEGÒ, is based on the internationally recognised work of Professor David Haddleton in the field of functional polymer chemistry. The Company’s principal business activity uses its biopolymer technology PolyPEGÒ to secure evaluation, licence and manufacturing deals with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies on specific proteins/drugs under development.

 

The Company has progressed considerably in recent years and, in this latest funding round, Catapult Venture Managers has invested £600k alongside backing from Mercia Technology Seed Fund, Oxford Technology VCT, private investors and management.

 

Executive Chairman Dr. Richard Palmer, a former senior R&D manager in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and CEO of a leading UK Biotech company, joined the business in September 2007. Commenting on the latest funding round Dr. Palmer said: “WEP is very pleased to have secured this investment from Catapult, and the continued support from its existing investors in these difficult investment markets. This reflects the progress made by the Company over the last year, which has secured eight evaluation agreements with leading companies, with more under negotiation. The funding will enable WEP to progress these, complete more, and secure licences and manufacturing contracts, leading to financial independence over the next two years”.

 

Catapult Director Graham Mold commented: “There are a number of technology platforms by which drug companies can enhance development and commercialization of new biological drugs. WEP’s unique PolyPEGÒ technology is attractive to global biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies because it is able to enhance the activity and dosing schedules of novel biological therapies under development, such as protein and oligonucleotide drugs, and has significant product advantages over existing technologies. WEP currently has a number of evaluation deals on a variety of drugs with highly reputable global players and the first licence is expected to be signed this year”.

 

Dr Mark Payton, Fund Principal for Mercia Technology Seed Fund added, “WEP has a strong, broad proprietary position in an incredibly attractive market applicable to new biological products set to enter the clinic, as well as therapeutics that are already available to patients that can be improved. WEP is well placed as it enters its next phase of growth and we are delighted to continue to support the team”.

 

Contact: Dr. Richard Palmer     024 7669 2476 or 07768 547373

                                                            info@wep-ltd.co.uk

 

Further Information:

Warwick Effect Polymers Limited was founded in 2001 as a spin-out from the Chemistry Department of the University of Warwick. Its technology is based on the internationally recognised research into Living Radical Polymerisation of Professor David Haddleton. For more information about Warwick Effect Polymers Limited, go to www.wep-ltd.co.uk

 

Living Radical Polymerisation is a technology platform that allows for controlled synthesis of a wide range of polymers with uniquely targeted structure and function. Such polymers can therefore be tailored to have unique properties suitable for a wide range of applications ranging from biopolymers to medical devices, dispersants, personal care products and coatings – designer polymers.

 

PolyPEGÒ is a co-polymer with a unique comb-like architecture comprising a polymethacrylate backbone with short polyethylene glycol ( PEG) ‘teeth’. This structure allows a wide range of PEG structures and conformations with terminal functionality to be synthesised. This ensures differentiated properties from linear and branched PEG when conjugated to proteins and other biologicals. Two key features of PolyPEGÒ are its very low viscosity that allows more concentrated formulations for easy administration to patients, as well as it ability to be hydrolysed into readily excretable units, thus preventing accumulation in the body. When conjugated to biologicals, PolyPEGÒ not only increases their half-life in the body, but can also increase biological activity while avoiding the potential for accumulation in the tissues.

 

GlycoPol TM is also based on comb-shaped polymers, but with ‘teeth’ comprising sugars with a range of chemical compositions. WEP anticipates that GlycoPolTM will not only allow targeted delivery of biologicals by binding to specific sites in the body, but also share some of the advantages of PolyPEGÒ.

 

Biologics represent a large and growing sector within healthcare, with the global market for biological drugs in excess of $60bn and growing fast.  Biopolymers are often critical for the product attributes of biological drugs in terms of increasing the half-life to levels that allow less frequent and lower dosing and for improved formulation for ease of administration by doctors and patients.

 

There are now over 100 FDA approved biologics on the market and as a result of advances in molecular biology, over 25% of new drugs in development are biologics and this percentage is growing.

 

Catapult Venture Managers Limited specialises in providing Equity Capital for businesses requiring between £200k and £2m.  Catapult can invest across a range of funds with £80m of funds under management and provides a full range of funding requirement from early stage, development capital to MBO/MBIs. Since 1999 Catapult has invested in 65 companies, providing initial and further follow on requirements. Catapult's experienced team of 7 Executives and 2 Non Executive Directors have over 100 years of VC experience between them. For further information contact Graham Mold at Catapult Venture Managers on 0121 616 0180 or 07768 148187 or Paul Shrimpton at PSPR Ltd on 0121 354 7311 or 07979 505322.

 

Mercia Technology Seed Fund (MTSF) is a £13m technology fund investing in start up companies and other early stage technology-based ventures located in the West Midlands. It is managed by Birmingham-based WM Enterprise (WM Enterprise is a trading name of West Midlands Enterprise Limited, authorized and regulated by the Financial Services Authority). One of the key investors in the MTSF is Advantage West Midlands, the regional development agency for the West Midlands. MTSF typically invests in companies based in the West Midlands with high growth prospects that have a robust and developed proprietary product or technology platform. For more information go to www.merciafund.co.uk. Contact Dr. Mark Payton, Fund Principal: markp@merciafund.co.uk or 07811 435199.