Among the new investors, figures Equity Partners Investment Club, the club deal of private investors promoted by Mediobanca and led by Roberto Ferraresi, former partner of PAI Partners (see here a previous post by BeBeez) . The club deal is said to have bought an 18% stake in Philogen (see here Repubblica). Mr. Ferraresi then joined the Board of Directors of Philogen, as did Guido Guidi, previously Director of Oncology Europe in Novartis, and Roberto Marsella, former investment director and then head of business development at CDP Equity, former Fondo Strategico Italiano spa, and chairman and managing director and co-promoter of the Spac ALP.I, promoted by Mediobanca, which has recently listed Antares Vision (see here a previous post by BeBeez). Mr. Marsella is on the Board of Directors for his current role in Generali as Head of Portfolio Strategy & Real Estate Partnerships. However, it is not explained in the statement whether Generali is among Philogen’s investors. Leopoldo Zambeletti acted as advisor to Philogen.
The new money will be used to advance pipeline products during clinical development phases. The capital increase will also be used to expand Philogen’s production facilities, allowing large-scale production of antibody products. Currently the company has two products in phase III for oncological indications. Daromun, studied for the treatment of completely resectable stage III B / C melanoma, while Fibromun is being studied in metastatic soft tissue sarcoma. In the pipeline are other products that are in phase I or phase II. The company recently announced collaboration agreements with Celgene, Janssen Biotech and Novartis.
Founded in 1996, Philogen is controlled about 60% by Nerbio owned by the Neri brothers (Duccio, Dario and Giovanni), while the remaining 40% has been in the hands of pharmaceutical entrepreneur Sergio Dompé, who is also an investor in Equity Partners Investment Club.
The Neri brothers are grandchildren of the pharmaceutical industrialist Achille Sclavo. The latter is the founder of the Sienese pharmaceutical company Sclavo, which later became Sclavo-Biocine and came under the control of Guelfo Marcucci, the Florentine entrepreneur who founded Video Music in the 1980s. Sclavo-Biocine was later sold to Novartis in the 1990s. Dario Neri, in particular, is the company’s scientific director, professor of biomacromolecules at the Department of Applied Chemistry of Eth, the Federal Polytechnic of Zurich.
The company had studied a possible ipo first in 2008 and then in 2011 (see the 2011 prospectus here), but in both cases it was later withdrawn.