3i realises investment in biopharmaceutical firm Arexis

22 Aug 2005

Europe's leading private equity and venture capital company, 3i Group plc, along with syndicate members, SEB Företagsinvest, Innovationskapital and Industrifonden, has signed an agreement to divest its in Arexis in an acquisition by Biovitrum, one of Europe's largest biotechnology firms. 3i's undiluted stake in the company is 26 %.

Arexis is a Swedish biotech company with an extensive portfolio of projects in, or near, clinical phase. Arexis is specialised in the development of pharmaceuticals for the treatment of metabolic and inflammatory diseases, e. g. lipid malabsorption, diabetes, atopic dermatitis (inflammatory skin disease) and rheumatoid arthritis. The company was founded in 1999 and is located in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Thomas Pollare, Director, 3i Nordic and advisor to 3i Group says: "It has been a pleasure working with Arexis' excellent management team to support the company's development over the last four years.  Since our first investment in 2001, the company has developed from research into a company with an attractive portfolio of clinical projects. In Biovitrum, Arexis has gained a strong industrial owner who will support and accelerate its future growth significantly."

Biovitrum is a leading European biotechnology firm employing around 500 staff and generating revenues of SEK 787 million in 2004.

"Arexis and Biovitrum complement each other especially well with respect to prioritised therapeutic areas but also concerning recombinant proteins. Arexis provides several interesting projects in addition to BSSL. Our united forces will enable us to drive these projects to a successful market launch", adds Mats Pettersson, CEO of Biovitrum.

"Arexis and our strong project portfolio leapfrog into a much more mature industrial setting and will enjoy strong synergies with the combined competencies of Biovitrum, thus enhancing the probability of successful product launches", says Lennart Hansson, CEO of Arexis. 

Advisors on the deal included ABG Sundahl Collier, Advokatfirman Lindahl, and Lindhs DLA Nordic. The parties have agreed not to disclose the financial terms of the deal.

With its 20 year track record of healthcare investing, 3i currently backs 100 early stage companies including Gyros, SBL Vaccin and CRF in the Nordic region. Its international biotechnology expertise is proven with the €126m capitalisation of PAION, €41.6m proceeds for Epigenomics, and the £106.5m Arakis and €71.4 m NeoPharma sales, all within the last 14 months. 

Notes to editors

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 see www.3i.com

About Arexis
Arexis AB is an emerging pharmaceutical company operating in custom-designed laboratories in the newly built Biotech Center in Gothenburg, Sweden. The company's research is biology-driven with proprietary technology and a strong focus on product development within the areas of metabolic and inflammatory diseases. Common for these areas is large unmet medical needs and partly unknown disease causes. Arexis' concept of forward genetics in extensively validated disease models is used for high-resolution molecular dissection of causative disease mechanisms. This research strategy is the key to more effective development of novel therapies. Arexis' management has extensive experience from the international pharmaceutical industry as well as from smaller biotechnology companies. For more information see www.arexis.com

About Biovitrum
Biovitrum is one of the largest biotech companies in Europe, with operations in Stockholm and Uppsala in Sweden and in Cambridge in the UK. Biovitrum combines research and development with commercial operations. R&D focuses on the research and development of new pharmaceuticals for treatment of obesity, diabetes and inflammation as well as within the therapeutic areas of oncology and glaucoma. Biopharmaceuticals develops and produces protein-based drugs on a contractual basis. Biovitrum also markets a number of specialist pharmaceuticals primarily in the Nordic countries. Within Biovitrum approximately 300 employees work within R&D and about 200 in Biopharmaceuticals and Product Marketing and Sales. For more information see www.biovitrum.com