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Drugs and cash drive Genetics Company growth

Novartis Venture Fund has invested in the Genetics Company. Novartis

If the Genetics Company is successful in the execution of its business plan, the five-year-old firm will be selling kits for diagnosing diseases such as Alzheimers to a global market.

This content was published on November 18, 2003 - 12:03

At the same time it will be signing partnerships with big pharma to help create new “small” molecule-based drugs that could be used to treat certain cancers.

The firm just completed its second round of venture capital to expedite its growth.

At SFr14 million ($10.6 million), the firm raised a significantly greater amount than last year when it raised SFr10 million.

A further SFr5 million in debt financing has been arranged at the time of each transaction, giving the firm a relatively large pool of capital to work with.

The round was co-led by existing shareholders Nextech Venture and Novartis Venture Fund, and attracted two new ones, Najeti Capital, a Spanish subsidiary of the French Najeti Group, and Germany’s Heidelberg Innovation, along with a number of private investors.

Acquisitive

In the past year, the Genetics Company has acquired two start-up life science companies, one of which was Abeta, a portfolio firm of Heidelberg Innovation.

Bringing the assets of these companies together, along with some of their investors, the board of the Genetics Company believes they should be able to build a stronger firm, Swiss Venture was told earlier this year.

According to Thibaud Durand, CEO of Najeti Capital: “There are currently few companies on the market that combine such a strong sense of entrepreneurship and outstanding science as the Genetics Company.” (Najeti Capital is one of the few early-stage high-tech venture capital firms in Spain.)

The acquisitions enabled the Schlieren-based firm to have a division in drug discovery - a longer-term prospect in terms of revenues - and one in diagnostics which enables shorter path to revenue.

The Genetics Company is spin-off of the University of Zurich and the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC).

by Valerie Thompson

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