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Avid RP Closes $8.9 Million Financing to Support Development of Alzheimer's Diagnostic and Prognostic Agents

Awardee Story Avid RP Closes $8.9 Million Financing to Support Development of Alzheimer's Diagnostic and Prognostic Agents
Date: Jan 05, 2000

Source: PR Newswire ( click here to go to the source)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, Inc. (Avid
RP), a product-focused molecular imaging company, today announced the closing
of its first institutional financing round, raising $8.9 million from new and
existing investors. Avid RP is a pioneer in developing molecular imaging
agents for detecting Alzheimer's disease. Its radiolabeled compounds, which
bind to amyloid plaque, are being developed to enable physicians to diagnose
Alzheimer's in real-time and allow researchers to evaluate the many drug
candidates targeting amyloid plaque build-up faster and more effectively. The
financing was led by Pfizer's Strategic Investments Group and included Lilly
Ventures, the venture capital arm of Eli Lilly and Company, RK Ventures, LLC
and BioAdvance, the Biotechnology Greenhouse of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
The round included both new investments and the conversion of existing
convertible notes.
"This investment represents a significant step towards our goal of rapidly
commercializing molecular imaging agents for disease diagnosis and
personalized medicine," said Daniel Skovronsky, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO
of Avid. "We are pleased that Pfizer and Lilly are supporting Avid in our
efforts to improve diagnostic and treatment options for Alzheimer's patients."
Avid intends to use this financing to support preclinical and clinical
studies of its compounds that bind to and image the chief constituent of
amyloid plaque, a major feature of Alzheimer's disease.
"Despite advances in research and treatment, Alzheimer's disease remains
an area of unmet medical need," said Ilya Oshman, vice president of Pfizer
Strategic Investments Group. "Avid's novel molecular imaging agents have the
potential to speed the development of new agents to accurately diagnose and
treat Alzheimer's patients, and we are pleased to join in the first
institutional round for this promising company."
Avid expects that its molecular imaging agents will be immediately useful
for drug development by allowing researchers to assess early on whether their
drugs designed to reduce amyloid plaque are actually impacting the intended
target. These molecular imaging agents may enable physicians to definitively
diagnose Alzheimer's disease and to select and monitor appropriate treatments
for individual patients.
"As early investors supporting Avid's rapid progress, we are impressed by
the company's combination of cutting edge technology, forceful leadership,
clear path to early commercialization and large clinical and commercial
potential," said Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, Ph.D., general partner of RK Ventures.
Avid's imaging agents, which are exclusively licensed to the company by
inventors Hank Kung, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania,
can be used with a variety of common, non-invasive imaging technologies such
as PET and SPECT scanning.
The company's technology for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's has already been
demonstrated in pilot human studies and its first commercial product is
expected to enter clinical trials in 2006.
Avid was founded with seed money from BioAdvance, the Biotechnology
Greenhouse of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Since its inception in 2002,
BioAdvance has committed more than $10 million from its Greenhouse Fund to
help 29 life sciences enterprises and research projects develop and
commercialize innovative products and technologies. In addition to early
funding, BioAdvance also supports its portfolio companies with ongoing counsel
and other business assistance.
Alzheimer's disease affects an estimated four and a half million people in
the United States today. That number has doubled since 1980 and is expected to
exceed 12 million people by 2050 as the population ages.

About Avid RP
Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, Inc. (Avid RP) is a product-focused molecular
imaging company developing novel diagnostic agents to enable early diagnosis,
treatment selection and therapeutic monitoring of serious diseases. The
company is a pioneer in clinical development of agents for detecting and
monitoring Alzheimer's disease, and its lead radiolabeled compounds are being
developed to enable physicians to diagnose Alzheimer's in real-time and to
allow Alzheimer's researchers to evaluate the many drug candidates targeting
amyloid plaque build-up. Avid's technology can be used with a variety of
imaging technologies such as PET and SPECT scanning and has already been
tested in pilot human studies. For more information, visit
http://www.avidrp.com.

About BioAdvance
As part of a $2 billion initiative of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for
the life sciences, BioAdvance received $33.8 million to accelerate the
creation of life sciences jobs and businesses in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Since its inception in 2002, BioAdvance has committed more than $10 million of
its Greenhouse Fund to 29 enterprises and research projects. Their
technologies and products cover an array of innovations - from powerful new
diagnostics to medical devices and promising therapies for a variety of
disabling and life threatening conditions including cancer, Alzheimer's
disease, macular degeneration, obesity, drug resistant infections, intractable
pain, and addiction. For more information on BioAdvance and its portfolio
companies, visit http://www.bioadvance.com.

About Lilly Ventures
Lilly Ventures is the venture capital arm of Eli Lilly and Company, a
leading innovation-driven pharmaceutical company. Our primary goal is to
facilitate the success of companies in our areas of focus through early to
expansion stage investments and value-adding resources. Lilly Ventures
currently has $175 million under management and focuses on three major areas
of interest: biotechnology; healthcare IT; and medical technology.

About Pfizer Strategic Investments Group
Pfizer Strategic Investments Group (PSIG) is part of Pfizer Inc. which
discovers, develops and markets leading prescription medicines for humans and
animals and many of the world's best known consumer brands. PSIG invests in
companies that develop or market technologies, products or services that could
advance Pfizer's interests. For more information, visit
http://www.pfizer.com/psig/.

About RK Ventures
RK Ventures is a venture capital partnership that provides capital and
management support to seed and early-stage companies in financial services,
software and biotechnology. RK Ventures identifies entrepreneurs who are
passionate about their vision and who have the skills and background to make
that vision a reality. RK Ventures is directed by Matthew Rhodes-Kropf and
Ira Weiss, professors at Columbia University Graduate School of Business.

Contacts:

Daniel Skovronsky, M.D., Ph.D. Media:
CEO and President Barbara Lindheim
Avid Radiopharmaceuticals GendeLLindheim BioCom Partners
215.966.6208 212.918.4650



SOURCE Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, Inc.