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Omnia Molecular, located at the Barcelona Science Park (PCB), has closed a financing round of €2.1 million aimed at driving its growth. This round, led by the venture capital division of "la Caixa", which is currently betting on biotech companies, also draws on the company's development partners and its new management team, and is supported by ENISA, a Spanish innovation investment company. This news is covered in Biocat's latest newsletter.

Omnia is focused on developing new antibiotics for difficult-to-treat hospital infections. The company owns new technology for detecting both the antibiotic activity and the potential toxicity of new compounds, which enables faster drug discovery and development.

The new round of financing is dedicated to developing the company's most promising compounds and advancing several of these into preclinical development by 2012, with the first human trials slated for 2014. Omnia is willing to co-develop some of these compounds with interested pharma partners once their efficacy has been proven in animal models.

New managers with a global background

Since 2007, Omnia has been supported by Caixa Capital Risc. The fresh infusion of capital will coincide with additions to the company's management team. Raphael Klingmann, with 20 years of international management experience at Bayer AG and Solvay-Abbott, will work as CEO. Also, the Board of Directors is incorporating Dariusch Mani, who has more than two decades of experience in pharma and biotech companies such as Schering AG, Madaus and Gebre Pharma. Lluís Ribas de Pouplana, ICREA researcher at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) in Barcelona, who has worked at prestigious centers such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Scripps Research Institute, will continue his work as Scientific Director and Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board. Lastly, Oscar Rey, from Laboratoris Salvat, will serve as director of Drug Discovery and Development.

In the past few years, the global market for antibiotics and anti-virals has grown by roughly 8% annually, with annual sales exceeding €50 billion in the world’s seven major markets. However, the number of products in development has declined sharply while the most lucrative patents have begun to expire. This has renewed interest in new and innovative anti-infectives. In fact, according to estimates, in 2011 sales of anti-infectives will exceed €60 billion.

This news coincides with a recent accolade for Lluís Ribas. A study by Ribas’ team at the IRB Barcelona was just chosen as "Article of the Week" by the Journal of Biological Chemistry. It is currently available online and will be published in print this December.


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