Hadasit Bio-Holdings

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Clal Biotechnology, Pontifax and Hadasit Bio-Holdings to invest $ 4 million in ProtAb, a wholly owned Hadasit Bio-Holdings portfolio company

Apr. 13, 2010

Jerusalem, Israel, April 13, 2010. Hadasit Bio-Holdings Ltd. (TASE:HDST) today announced that ProtAb, its wholly owned portfolio company, has raised $3 million from two of the leading biotechnology investment groups in Israel - Pontifax Fund LP and Clal Biotechnology Industries Ltd. (TASE:CBI), whom will invest $1.5 million each.

Hadasit Bio-Holdings itself will invest an additional $1 million in the company, and convert loans that were granted to the company into stock. In addition, the investment will be leveraged through grant funding to the company from the Office of the Chief Scientist in Israel. As part of the transaction, the investors will receive an option to invest additional funding, in a similar amount, and the right to appoint members to the company’s board of directors.

According to the CEO of Hadasit Bio, Ophir Shahaf: “we are proud of today’s significant increase in value, which also validates the strategic model underlying Hadasit Bio-Holdings - advancing companies towards clinical trials and linking up with leading groups in the field. Investments by substantial groups like Pontifax and Clal Biotechnology are solid proof of the quality of the science, technology, and huge potential of ProtAb, and constitute a major milestone for further preclinical and clinical development by the company."

"Both ProtAb and Hadasit Bio will benefit from the support and involvement of two of the leading biotechnology groups in Israel, who bring with them extensive knowledge and experience. This is Clal Biotechnology Industries’ second investment in one of our portfolio companies. Hadasit Bio-Holdings’ goal is to promote the technologies and science found at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, starting from a scientist’s idea, through setting up a company and the initiation of clinical trials, and all the way to reaching agreements with strategic partners who can help turn the company and its products into a success. The agreement we are signing today is proof that our model is viable and that we can create value for our investors.”

ProtAb will use the funding from the current investment for continued development of its lead antibody for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases, notably inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis. The company is initiating advanced stages of production of the antibody in preparation for toxicological studies, applications to regulatory agencies, and the commencement of clinical trials with its lead antibody.

According to Shira Yair, ProtAb’s CEO, “I am delighted with the vote of confidence shown in ProtAb from substantial firms such as Clal Biotechnology and Pontifax, as well as Hadasit Bio-Holdings. The company has demonstrated significant progress in development of its lead antibody, both on the research and development fronts as well as with the protection of its intellectual property. Given the current investment, we will be able to continue developing our technology and products, and complete the preclinical development, manufacturing, and preparations for clinical trials with our lead antibody.”

About ProtAb

ProtAb is developing an innovative new approach for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, based on biologic drugs that activate natural anti-inflammatory pathways in the body—as opposed to the standard approach today of suppressing inflammatory pathways, which is associated with severe side effects and has only limited effectiveness. The company’s first product, Proximab, is a “humanized” monoclonal antibody directed against a segment of the HSP (Heat Shock Protein), which is being developed for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases, including inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).

The company is based on the research of Prof. Yaakov Naparstek, the Chairman of Medicine at the Hadassah–Hebrew University Hospital in Ein Karem. Naparstek is an internationally recognized expert in the field of autoimmune diseases and continues to oversee the company’s R&D staff. The company has established a broad patent base to protect the technologies and products which the company is developing.

About Hadasit Bio-Holdings

Hadasit Bio-Holdings (TASE: HDST) was set up and issued on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by Hadasit (the technology-transfer company of the Hadassah–Hebrew University Medical Center) in 2006 to exploit the knowledge and experience accumulated by the institution’s research laboratories. Hadasit Bio-Holdings currently includes eight biotech firms, all of which have already demonstrated the feasibility of their concepts and effectiveness of their drugs in animal models; four of them have begun human clinical trials.

The HBL portfolio companies are developing drugs with blockbuster potential (markets that exceed one billion dollars annually) for the treatment of cancer, inflammatory diseases, and tissue regeneration by means of stem cells—areas in which the Hadassah Medical Center has vast expertise and a reputation as a world leader. The CEO is Ophir Shahaf, LL.B., MBA.

For more information, please visit our (new) website: www.hbl.co.il.

 
 

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