ObsEva SA, a Swiss-based, speciality biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of innovative drugs for women’s reproductive medicine, signed a licensing agreement with Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA, under which Merck Serono will grant ObsEva worldwide development and commercialization rights to certain Merck Serono compounds in the field of preterm labor. The details of the agreement are not being disclosed. Concurrently, ObsEva announced the closing of a CHF 32 million Series-A financing round (€25.6 million). The Series A financing round was led by Sofinnova Partners, and co-led by Sofinnova Ventures and Novo A/S. The funding will allow ObsEva to undertake the development of these compounds.
As part of the deal, MS Ventures, the corporate venture capital fund of Merck Serono, has taken a minority equity stake in the company. Jasper Bos will represent MS Ventures at ObsEva’s board of directors. Rafaèle Tordjman, managing partner at Sofinnova Partners, Jim Healy, general partner at Sofinnova Ventures, and Kim Dueholm, partner at Novo A/S, will serve on the board along with Ernest Loumaye, co-founder of ObsEva and chief executive officer. Highly experienced pharmaceutical industry executives will also join the board of directors.
“I am grateful to Merck Serono for the trust in ObsEva for developing the licensed assets. Preterm labor is a condition for which only products with limited efficacy or limiting safety are available. The cost of preterm births to the society is estimated at around 27 billion dollars every year in the U.S.,” Loumaye said. “I am also very pleased to have the opportunity to work again with Sofinnova Partners and Sofinnova Ventures as well as to welcome Novo A/S, all three highly qualified investors.”
Tordjman added: “After our initial seed funding that enabled the co-founders to establish the company, we are very enthusiastic about continuing to work with ObsEva. The young company benefits from a combination of a highly experienced founding team with a successful track record, and a novel generation of potentially best-in-class proprietary products for preterm labor and additional indications.”
Date: August 29, 2013
Source: ObsEva SA