3i exits Arakis in £106.5m Sosei acquisition

19 Jul 2005

Europe's leading venture capital firm 3i today announces the sale of its stake in Arakis as Japanese biopharmaceutical company, Sosei, acquires the company for £106.5m.

The companies have agreed terms to combine the two highly successful product discovery and development companies with the aim of creating a top ten global biopharmaceutical company, with a broad mid- to late-stage clinical and pre-clinical pipeline, products with near term revenue generation potential, complementary product discovery capabilities and pan-European and Asia presence.  

At this point, 3i is divesting its stake in Arakis, having backed Arakis since 2002 through three rounds of investment totalling €14m. Nigel Pitchford is an active board member in Arakis, providing strategic guidance to the CEO on Arakis' business plan, funding and acquisition targets and in the last 12 months alone, two deals have resulted from direct 3i introductions to the company. Namely, these are Arakis' acquisition of Sirus Pharma which strengthened Arakis' pipeline and also a licencing deal with Ventura, via 3i's introduction at its annual CEO Healthcare conference in Barcelona.

Notes to editors

About Arakis Limited
Arakis is a private UK based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercialises innovative medicinal products based on established drugs and drug templates.  Its chosen therapeutic areas are inflammatory disease and pain.

Arakis has four products in clinical development:  AD 237 for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and AD 452 for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), AD 337 for fibromyalgia syndrome and AD 923 for cancer breakthrough pain (CBP).  In addition, there is a preclinical pipeline of other opportunities, two exploratory developments and a number of research projects.

Arakis was founded in March 2000 and has raised over £49 million ($86 million) in three private equity funding rounds. The company is based at Chesterford Research Park, south of Cambridge, UK and currently has 39 employees.  For further information about Arakis, please visit its website onwww.arakis.com.

About 3i
3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital. We focus on Buyouts, Growth Capital and Venture Capital and invest across Europe, in the United States and in Asia Pacific. Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our relationships in business. These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders. 
In the year to March 31, 2005, 3i invested £962m, including co-investment funds.  3i's Venture Capital business invested £144m in the year to March 31, 2005 in early stage technology companies globally across four specialist sectors: communications, software, healthcare and electronics, semiconductors and advanced technologies ("ESAT").  Some of 3i's award-winning portfolio include Vonage, US (VOIP), Udex US (RFID), The Cloud, UK (wireless), Microsulis, Scotland (medtech), Mobile 365, France (comms), Smart Fuel Cells, Germany (energy), Fractus, Spain (antennas), Sulake Finland (gaming) with successful IPO realisations through Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR), e2v, Bookham Technology, Novuspharma (Italy) and many others.  For more information, go to: www.3i.com/

About Sosei Co. Ltd.
Sosei Co. Ltd., founded in 1990 by Shinichi Tamura, the former CEO of Genentech Japan, is a leading Japanese biopharmaceutical company with significant expertise in drug development.  It enriches its core product pipeline by in-licensing compounds from Western and Japanese companies, by its distinctive Drug Reprofiling Platform® (DRP®) and through new molecular entity (NME) research programmes in collaboration with biopharmaceutical companies and universities both in Japan and the West. Sosei is also developing its own sales and marketing organization in Japan. The company is capitalising on its extensive global network established over the past 10 years in its successful technology transfer business.  For further information about Sosei, please visit www.sosei.com.