Return to search

Venture firms exit PowderMed in Pfizer deal

Global pharmaceuticals group Pfizer paid a reported $400m to acquire PowderMed, a UK DNA-vaccines company backed by Advent Venture Partners, Abingworth Management, Oxford Bioscience Partners and SV Life Sciences.

PowderMed, a UK biotechnology company specialising in DNA-based vaccines, has been acquired by pharmaceuticals group Pfizer in a deal which is expected to provide a profitable exit for its venture capital investors.
 
No transaction price was disclosed for the transaction but the Financial Times said today that Pfizer had paid up to $400 million (€318 million) for PowderMed.
 
Oxford-based PowderMed was created in May 2004 as a spin-out of Chiron Vaccines, the powder injection DNA vaccines technology unit of Chiron Corporation.
 
The company was backed at the time by a £20 million investment from Advent Venture Partners, Abingworth Management, Oxford Bioscience Partners, the ISIS College Fund and SV Life Sciences, previously known as Schroder Ventures Life Sciences
 

Benjamin: PowderMed puts UK biotech on the map

The firms took an equal share in PowderMed, with the £20 million funding spread over three milestone-based tranches, with a further £5 million invested since, according to Jerry Benjamin, general partner at Advent Venture Partners.
 
Benjamin declined to comment on the transaction details, but said that the firm had made a “substantial return” and that the exit was “up there with the best of our deals”: “It’s one of the largest acquisitions ever of a venture-backed UK biotechnology company, so it definitely puts biotechnology on the map. The sector is positive at the moment in terms of potential exits through the M&A route, although the public markets have not been very receptive. But there is certainly a lot of competition from the big pharmas and biotechs for companies that can contribute to their pipeline.
 
The firm made its investment from Advent Private Equity Fund III, which raised €440 million in 2001. Benjamin said the fund is now approximately 90 percent invested. Fund IV closed with €185 million of commitments last year.
 
Last month, Advent Venture Partners formed Speciality European Pharma, a new company focused on acquiring speciality pharmaceutical prescription products, headed by Geoff McMillan, a former senior executive at Roche, Elan and Xenova.