Serenus Biotherapeutics, a San Francisco, Calif.-based specialty biopharmaceutical company, has secured investment of up to $43 million from Malin, an Ireland-based global life sciences company focused on healthcare.
Malin will purchase a 41% stake in Serenus for $18 million. Upon the completion of certain agreed upon strategic and operational milestones, Malin will have the right to invest up to an additional $25 million and raise its stake in Serenus to up to 76% of the company on a fully diluted basis. Concurrent with Malin's investment, the board of Serenus will assess opportunities to implement an Irish holding structure and to position Ireland as a hub for future in-licensing and commercialization activities.
Serenus will use the proceeds to fund its operational development, secure commercialization arrangements with key partners for therapeutics and build out its late-stage clinical development and comprehensive supply chain network across its initial target markets.
"Africans have an appetite for newer technologies to improve health. Serenus intends to fill this need by being the bridge between the continent's unmet medical needs and the opportunity for global companies to enter a largely untapped and fertile commercial market," said Dr. Menghis Bairu, founder, CEO and president of Serenus. "This transaction not only provides us with capital to accelerate the realization of our vision for the company, but also with talent and insight from accomplished global biopharmaceutical veterans and access to novel products through their extensive industry relationships to help us build a company with a lasting impact on the health of people in Africa."
In conjunction with the financing, Serenus named G. Kelly Martin, director of Malin and former CEO of Elan, Serenus' chairman of the board. The company also named John Given, chairman of Malin and former executive vice president and general counsel of Elan, a member of the Serenus board.
Africa is undergoing a major shift in its healthcare burden as economic growth, a rising middle class and urbanization are fueling an increase in the incidence of chronic diseases and creating demand for novel medications. The continent is expected to experience the largest increase in death rates from cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease and diabetes during the next decade. At the same time, pharmaceutical spending is growing at a compounded annual rate of 10.6% and is expected to reach $45 billion by 2016, according to the healthcare information market research firm IMS Health.
"While the business case for entering the African market is clear, recent health crises have highlighted the need for Africans to access newer medications and health technologies sooner," said Bairu. "This is a need Serenus Biotherapeutics intends to address."