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Biotech startup ESBAtech on track

A new investor is expected to provide further capital to ESBATech


ESBATech AG, a biotech company specialized in using yeast to expedite the understanding of disease and find new drugs, is on track with its growth.

Swiss Venture Update has learned that a new investor is expected to join ESBAtech's existing venture capital providers in the coming weeks. The terms are in negotiation so it is too early for the firm's principles to confirm to the press, but a "post closing financing round" is in the works, according to Adrian Escher, ESBAtech's CFO.

In May the University of Zurich spinoff, ESBAtech announced the closing of its second tranche of capital from a SFr10.5 million round of investment led by the Immunology Fund of Lombard Odier & Cie that was announced last October. It received SFr5.35 million in October and another SFr5.25 million in May.

When a startup "closes a tranche" that is an indication to the market that it is on track with growth and milestones set up in its business plan. Tranches are payments or instalments paid to venture funded companies as they reach their targets.

ESBAtech employs 25 people with plans to hire 15 more people by the end of the year. It recently moved to new premises in the Biotech Center Zurich, in the town of Schlieren with a total of 1200m 2 laboratory and office space. It will generate revenues by collaborations and alliances with pharma companies, it's currently working on Alzheimer's research with Hoffman La Roche, as well as building up a proprietary product portfolio.

It has acquired new equipment such as robot set-up for high throughput assays to support current projects and further projects are being established to broaden the product pipeline.

The seed round investor was Novartis Venture Fund, who helped to start the firm in 1998. It continued in the latest round. Other investors included HBM BioVentures, BSI New Biomedical Frontiers, and Peter Ohnemus.

The young company also announced that a former Novartis executive, Dr Pedro Reiser, has joined the Board of Directors as new Chairman.

by Valerie Thompson

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