King's London in biotechnology deal

March 14, 1997

A NEW biotechnology company with strong research links to King's College, London has raised an investment of Pounds 4 million.

Called CeNeS, the firm specialises in diseases of the central nervous system and severe pain control, and has signed research deals with King's to develop drugs for combating Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's.

The company was formed in 1995 by ATM Investments. The Pounds 4 million investment has been made by venture capital firm 3i, Alta Berkeley Associates and Prelude Trust. The work at King's is being led by Peter Jenner, head of pharmacology, and involves Barry Halliwell and Robert Heider.

Professor Jenner says: "The CeNeS projects are ones we would have taken forward anyway. As it is we have received a very large grant from CeNeS for two years with no risk attached, although we will have to relinquish some of the intellectual property."

Professor Jenner regards the deal with CeNeS as another example of how, with public funding for research getting tighter, academics are looking increasingly to the private sector for support. He adds: "It is also an example of academics exploiting their own material. In the past we have let intellectual property go for nothing. I think this is a big problem in Britain - the American universities are far ahead of us on this."

CeNes chairman Sir Brian Richards said the research at King's was "unrivalled" in the United Kingdom. "Their ap- proaches are novel and tackle fundamental aspects of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's."

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