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By Biocat

Genoma España and venture capital firms Fitalent —whose benchmark partner is the Everis consultancy — and Inveready Seed Capital have invested €1 million in the biotechnology firm Palobiofarma, which is based in the Barcelona Science Park (PCB). The funds raised are integrated into the third round of funding for Catalan biotech, whose aim is to fund the Phase I clinical trials of the company’s two most advanced products for Parkinson’s disease and asthma treatments.

The capital contribution —the second one from Inveready and the first one from Fitalent— is in addition to public funding which the company obtained in 2011 as part of the Impact Program of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. Genoma España, which invests in the third round through an equity loan, has been one of the main drivers of the company.

In total, Palobiofarma, which researches and develops new drugs to improve quality of life for those suffering from neurodegenerative and respiratory diseases, has more than €2 millions to carry out their business plan in 2012 and 2013.

Palobiofarma CEO Julio Castro manifested his satisfaction for “having found venture capital interested in investing in our business project, and even more now if we take into account that closing a round of funding right now was quite difficult. I think we’ve shown our capacity to generate competitive, high-quality projects with limited resources."

Beneficial properties of coffee

This Catalan biotech firm is basing its research on recent studies that have demonstrated that diseases like Parkinson, Alzheimer and asthma take longer to develop in people who drink coffee regularly. This is due to the interaction of the caffeine with the adenosine receptors, a molecule involved in important body functions like heart rate, memory, inflammatory processes and energy balance.

After more than five years of research, and thanks to this recent injection of venture capital, Palobiofarma will begin phase I clinical trials on the adenosine A2a antagonist to treat Parkinson. This research will be key to reducing the side effects of drugs used to treat degenerative diseases, specifically the trembling and loss of coordination patients experience while being treated with Levodopa. In the first quarter of 2013, clinical trials will begin on a powerful adenosine A1 antagonist for oral treatment of asthma.

These projects will be developed through to proof of concept in humans (phase II), which according to the company’s development plan will culminate in 2014 with the licensing of these products to pharmaceutical companies.

With the Catalan delegation to BIO Boston 2012

Palobiofarma is one of the 72 companies and organizations that are travelling with the Catalan delegation coordinated by Biocat to the top global biotech convention BIO Boston 2012 from 18 to 21 June.

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