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Amakem raises €18m for glaucoma treatment

Amakem, the Belgium-based pharmaceutical company, has raised €18m to advance its lead glaucoma candidate to clinical proof-of-concept

Belgian pharmaceutical company Amakem has raised €18m with a syndicate of leading life sciences investors to advance its ophthalmology drug development portfolio and progress its lead candidate, AMA0076 for glaucoma, to clinical proof-of-concept.

The series A funding round was led by Forbion Capital Partners and also included Crédit Agricole Private Equity, Vesalius BioCapital, as well as the existing investors LRM, PMV and Life Sciences Research Partners.

AMA0076 is a highly potent rho kinase (ROCK) inhibitor for the treatment of glaucoma. It has been proven in preclinical models to be highly effective in reducing intraocular pressure, a major factor in glaucoma, and to avoid important side effects such as hyperemia.

Jack Elands, chief executive of Amakem, said: "In AMA0076 we have developed a highly promising candidate for the treatment of one of the most important eye diseases. Existing treatments for glaucoma are not effective for all patients and other ROCK inhibitors in development have shown dose-limiting side effects, particularly hyperaemia.

"This substantial fundraising from experienced investors reflects the promise of our approach and will enable us to make real progress by advancing our lead candidate through to clinical proof-of-concept."

In connection with this financing round Christina Takke (Forbion Capital Partners), Emmanuelle Coutanceau (Crédit Agricole Private Equity) and Gaston Matthyssens (Vesalius BioCapital) will join Amakem's board.

Meanwhile Geert-Jan Mulder (Forbion Capital Partners) and Kenneth Wils (PMV/Vinnof) will join the board as observers. Chris Buyse (Life Sciences Research Partners and CFO at Thrombogenics) who has been the company's chairman during its successful first phase will step down and Michael Palfreyman will take his place.

6th September 2011

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