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Oxagen raises GBP16m in financing led by Novartis Venture Funds

Oxagen, a drug discovery and development company specialising in inflammation, has completed a GBP16m (USD26.7m) series C round led by Novartis Venture Funds.

The proceeds of the funding will be used primarily to advance Oxagen’s CRTH2 antagonist programme in inflammatory and respiratory diseases.

This will include the completion of an ongoing Phase IIb clinical study of the lead molecule OC000459 in moderate persistent asthma.

This follows the successful completion of proof-of-concept studies in both asthma and allergic rhinitis. CRTH2, also known as DP2 is a cell surface receptor for prostaglandin D2 and is implicated in allergic inflammation.

The funds will also be used to expand the therapeutic indications for CRTH2 antagonists using the lead molecule as well as back-up compounds.

The investment was led by Novartis Venture Funds, and joined by existing investors including MPM Capital, SV Life Sciences, Advent Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Omega, Abingworth, IBT, Red Abbey and The Wellcome Trust.

Mark Payton, chief executive officer of Oxagen, says: “We are delighted to welcome Novartis Ventures as a new investor in Oxagen. We are excited by the potential shown to date by CRTH2 antagonists in general and by OC000459 in particular. This funding will allow us to both advance and broaden the therapeutic utility of our portfolio of molecules. We are delighted that this potential has been recognised both by our new lead investor, as well as by our strong base of existing investors.”

Anja König, managing director at Novartis Venture Funds, adds: "We are looking forward to joining Oxagen in their exciting effort to deliver their first in class medicine to patients with asthma, a condition with significant unmet need. CRTH2 is a very promising new target in asthma and inflammation and Oxagen’s lead compound has the potential to become a blockbuster.”

König will join the Oxagen board of directors.

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