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UI licensee Optherion secures $37 million in financing
Date:10/9/2007

ypically manifests in individuals between 5 and 25 years of age. It is often caused by the same genetic variations underlying AMD.

Among the sources of capital for Optherion's financing are: Quaker BioVentures, Philadelphia; Domain Associates, Princeton, N.J. and San Diego, Calif.; Johnson & Johnson Development Corp., New Brunswick, N.J.; Purdue Pharmaceutical Products L.P., Stamford, Conn.; Pappas Ventures, Research Triangle Park, N.C.; Biogen Idec New Ventures, Cambridge, Mass.; and GE Healthcare Financial Services, Chicago, Ill.

Colin J. Foster, Optherion's President and CEO, said "We are gratified by the high quality of investors participating in the Series A financing. We are embarking on a program that exploits a new and exciting area of research with breakthrough potential in areas of high unmet medical need, with a primary focus on preventing blindness among those with dry AMD." Foster is the former CEO of Bayer Pharmaceuticals in the United States and Region Head for Bayer Pharmaceuticals in North America.

Hageman, the Iowa Entrepreneurial Endowed Professor at the UI, is Optherion's chief scientific officer and a co-discoverer of the relationship between complement factor H, complement factor B and AMD. In August 2006, he received a five-year, $14.6 million NIH grant to lead an international, multidisciplinary effort to continue research on the genes' roles in the immune system, with the goal of finding ways to delay or prevent AMD and other related diseases.

"From my perspective, the UI-Optherion partnership is the result of progressive thinking and a 'can-do' attitude exhibited by the Iowa Legislature, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, and the university," Hageman said. "It's a great story in terms of economic development, but it's also a great story in terms of responding to NIH's commitment to support translational research programs. There is much more work to be done. I sincerely believe that this team has the pot
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Contact: David Pedersen
david-pedersen@uiowa.edu
319-335-8032
University of Iowa
Source:Eurekalert

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