BioXell: New immunology company launched
Roche spin-out raises €22m from international investors

Milan, Italy, March 26, 2002
BioXell SpA announced its official launch today at a press conference in Milan. The firm combines extensive industry experience with a competitive edge in immunology and aims to become a leading research and development biopharmaceutical company in the field. BioXell is off to a fast start with two strong technology platforms and products entering clinical trials. The company has closed its first round of financing, totalling €22 million through a consortium of three top tier venture capital firms; MPM Capital, Index Ventures and Life Sciences Partners.

BioXell, formed through a spinout from Roche Milano Ricerche will be led by Francesco Sinigaglia MD, as Chief Executive Officer and co-founder. In 1992, Dr Sinigaglia founded and became the scientific director of Roche Milano Ricerche, a Roche institute focusing on chronic inflammatory diseases and autoimmunity. His co-founders are Luciano Adorini MD, Chief Scientific Officer, currently Vice President of the Italian Society for Immunology, and Michael Steinmetz PhD, General Partner of MPM Capital who joins as Chairman of the Board.

BioXell's considerable scientific weight is further enhanced by Milan Uskokovic PhD, a world leading chemist in the Vitamin D3 field, Marco Colonna MD (Washington University, St Louis) and Enrico Colli MD, previously director of clinical development at Pfizer Global R&D. Francesco De Rubertis PhD, Partner at Index Ventures, Joachim Rothe PhD, Partner at LSP and Dr Renzo Rustici, President of Roche Italy have joined the board.

The company's focus is on immunology, through their TREM receptor programme, and on their proprietary Vitamin D3 analogues of which, BXL628 is expected to enter Phase II trials towards the end of the year. BXL353 and BXL490 are expected to enter Phase I trials by the end of the year. BioXell is concentrating on important diseases such as benign prostatic hyperplasia, septic shock, secondary hyperparathyroidism and type I diabetes. The company is leveraging its unique assets and establishing a fully integrated research team that will cover the essential elements of small molecule and protein drug discovery. The Vitamin D3 chemistry will be carried out at BioXell Inc, a fully owned subsidiary located in Nutley, NJ.

The first round of financing was led by MPM Capital with Index Ventures and Life Science Partners co-investing. In addition to this, Roche will retain a 17% stake in the company and has assigned patents relating to over 200 Vitamin D3 analogues from which BioXell is developing its lead compounds. In return, BioXell will have access to the Roche small molecule screening libraries with up to 700,000 compounds, lab space in Nutley, New Jersey (USA) and other facilities.

"To achieve this very substantial start-up financing of more than €22m in the current climate is a clear endorsement of BioXell's drug development programs and business strategy," said Dr Francesco Sinigaglia, CEO of BioXell. "This financing ensures our two most advanced compounds will move through Phase I and Phase II clinical development. It will also support our pre-clinical research pipeline. The formation and successful financing of BioXell by leading international life science investors marks the beginning of a new phase of biotechnological development in Italy."

Michael Steinmetz, PhD, a General Partner of MPM Capital LP, commented, "MPM is very pleased with its role as the lead investor in BioXell's first financing round. The company has been started by a talented and experienced group of founders and employees with a very promising technology platform and a basket of product candidates from Roche. All of us are committed to building a premier biotechnology company."

Dr David Brown, Global Head of Discovery Research at Roche in Basle, said. "We are excited about the creation of BioXell, and are delighted to be able to be part of this new venture in the field of biotech. In line with Roche's strategy to spin out technology and intellectual property to enhance R&D productivity, we feel BioXell is well positioned to further develop their products and proprietary technologies."

BioXell is a private research and development biopharmaceutical company with a competitive edge in immunology developing two strong technology platforms based on the TREM receptor system and Vitamin D3 analogues. From these, BioXell has products in clinical development focused on secondary hyperparathyroidism, benign prostatic hyperplasia and psoriasis, as well in type 1 diabetes and transplantation. In March 2002, BioXell raised €22m in a first-round financing from a consortium of three top-tier venture capital firms: MPM Capital, Index Ventures and Life Science Partners. BioXell has a network of academic collaborations, including Washington University, St. Louis and the Universities of Arkansas, Milan, Florence, Modena and Zurich.

For further information, please visit our website at:

BioXell SpA
Alvise Sagramoso
Chief Administrative Officer
Tel. +39.02.2884 803