Epic Sciences picks up $30 mln Series C

Epic Sciences said Wednesday that it has secured $30 million in Series C financing. The investors included RusnanoMedInvest, Arcus Ventures, Domain Associates, Roche Venture Fund and Pfizer Venture Investments. Based in San Diego, Calif., Epic is a biotech firm focused on cancer diagnostics. PRESS RELEASE SAN DIEGO, July 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Epic Sciences, Inc. (“Epic”), a privately held biotech company that designs and develops novel diagnostics to personalize and advance the treatment and management of cancer, announced today the completion of a $30 million Series C Preferred Stock financing. The financing included new investors RusnanoMedInvest (RMI) and Arcus Ventures, existing investors Domain Associates, Roche Venture Fund, and Pfizer Venture Investments, as well as undisclosed individual investors. With the proceeds of the financing, Epic will commercialize its circulating rare cell analysis platform with special focus on developing products and services to detect circulating tumor cells (CTC) in cancer. Epic’s technology enables the rapid and minimally invasive characterization of protein biomarker and genomic profiles in CTCs allowing for superior therapy selection and the early drug resistance detection. “Since our investment in the Series B, Epic has consistently expanded its commercial partnerships to develop new companion diagnostics, demonstrated the clinical utility of Epic’s technology across a broad range of cancers, extended the capabilities of the core technology platform and attracted top talent to thoughtfully advance the company,” said Kim Kamdar, Ph.D., partner at Domain Associates. “Domain Associates was enthusiastic to expand the investment and establish Epic as a premier provider of minimally invasive diagnostic tests to improve the precision of cancer care.” “With our partners, we have shown that Epic’s CTC technology is sensitive, specific, and clinically relevant. We believe diagnostic tests developed with Epic technology will provide essential, real-time information to support a comprehensive view of a patient’s cancer for better therapy matching and drug resistance monitoring,” said Murali Prahalad, Ph.D., president and CEO of Epic Sciences. “We are grateful for the support of our new and returning top-tier investors. With the proceeds from the financing, Epic will enhance its technology via automation and advance multiple clinical studies for 510(k) fillings. The Epic team is focused on accelerating our diagnostic products through commercialization to ensure the best outcomes for patients.” Epic is developing highly sensitive and informative diagnostic tests to rapidly quantify the proteomic and genomic changes that occur over time during the treatment of a patient’s cancer, from a minimally invasive liquid biopsy. With a simple blood draw, Epic’s “no cell left behind” approach analyzes approximately six million cells across more than 90 parameters to capture and analyze all possible types of CTCs. CTCs are the most advanced blood-based biomarkers that can encompass the real-time genetic and molecular profiles of both primary tumors and metastases. For clinical and pharma partners, Epic provides a report that can incorporate CTC enumeration, quantitative protein biomarker analysis and single-cell genomic analysis by next generation sequencing (NGS) or fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). The information provided by Epic’s report can be used to monitor and personalize cancer treatments at every clinical decision point. Epic’s technology was exclusively licensed from the Kuhn Lab at The Scripps Research Institute. “Epic’s technology has achieved an unprecedented level of sensitivity in detecting circulating tumor cells to develop crucial cancer diagnostics for the millions of patients who need better ways to match drugs to their disease subtype and to understand whether their treatment is working,” said Dr. Peter Kuhn, professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Southern California and co-founder of Epic. “In the near future, we will be able to answer the questions that doctors and patients have: what is the status of the cancer, what therapy can best treat the cancer and is that therapy working?” About Epic Sciences Epic Sciences, Inc. is developing novel diagnostics to personalize and advance the treatment and management of cancer. Epic’s mission is to enable the rapid and non-invasive detection of genetic and molecular changes in cancer throughout a patient’s journey. The company was founded on a powerful platform to identify and characterize rare cells, including CTCs. Our technology helps match patients to targeted therapies and monitor for drug resistance, so that the best treatment path can be chosen at every clinical decision point. Today, we partner with leading pharmaceutical companies and major cancer centers around the world. Epic’s goal is to commercialize our technology to increase the success rate of cancer drugs in clinical trials and improve patient outcomes by providing physicians real-time information to guide treatment choices. Further information is available on the Company’s website, www.epicsciences.com .

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Epic Sciences picks up $30 mln Series C

NVCC and Global Brain back 3rdKind

Japanese smartphone game publisher 3rdKind said Wednesday that it has closed $1 million in funding. The investors were Nippon Venture Capital, Global Brain and Adways. PRESS RELEASE Tokyo (PRWEB) July 30, 2014 3rdKind Inc. allows worldwide developers not only to grow their sales on the Japanese App Store and Google Play but also to team up with major local companies such as KDDI, Sanrio, Nifty. 3rdKind not only localize but also “culturalize” foreign game apps to fit with the Asian market. It has released more than 20 titles, including million-download apps “Happy Street” and “Pocket Mine”. The company’s strength is the proven recipes of unique marketing methods that enable foreign developers to generate maximum revenue in the Asian market. This second round investment will give 3rdKind the necessary equity to strengthen its team recruitment, expand its games catalog and raise the sales development bar in Japan, but also in China and South Korea. About 3rdKind Inc. http://www.3rdkind-inc.com/ 3rdKind is a Japanese smartphone game publisher, which provides expertise and support for overseas developers on marketing, localization, development, and “culturization” for the Japanese market. With partner like the mobile operator KDDI, 3rdKind distribute game on major Japanese app stores like “AppStore”, “GooglePlay” & “au Smart Pass”. About Nippon Venture Capital Co., Ltd. (“NVCC” ) http://www.nvcc.co.jp/en/profile.html Nippon Venture Capital (“NVCC”), established in 1996 as one of the few largest Japanese independent venture capital firms, is destined to undertake the unprecedented task of providing full-range venture capital services in cooperation with major Japanese business leaders and leading companies, which have supported and nurtured various new businesses on their own, as well as proactively developing new venture enterprises. NVCC provides appropriate infrastructure to selective entrepreneurial companies not only seeking for their own earnings growth but also contributing to Japanese economies in the future. About Global Brain Corporation http://www.globalbrains.co.jp/english/ Global Brain is a Tokyo-based independent venture capital founded in 1998, which focuses on seed to middle stage IT startup companies. It currently manages 6 funds with total amount of 300 million USD. It is well known for its intensive hands-on style investments with dedicated in-house business support team, and also known for growth hack support utilizing its extensive network with large corporations. About Adways Inc. http://adways.net/en/ Adways is a digital advertising network and a game publisher head quartered in Tokyo, Japan. It runs one of the largest smart phone app distribution network in Asia. Now, with over 1,000 employees over the world, headquartered in Tokyo, Adways currently operates in another 10 countries mainly with app marketing agency service, mobile ad network “AppDriver” and app tracking tool “PartyTrack” .

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NVCC and Global Brain back 3rdKind

Bluegrass Vascular scores $4.5 mln Series A

Bluegrass Vascular Technologies said Wednesday that it has raised $4.5 million in Series A financing. Targeted Technology Fund II led the round. Based in Lexington, Kentucky, Bluegrass Vascular is a medical tech firm focused on developing methods of vascular access. PRESS RELEASE SAN ANTONIO, July 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Bluegrass Vascular Technologies, a private medical technology company focused on innovating lifesaving devices and methods for vascular access, today announced it has closed $4.5 million in Series A financing, which was led by Targeted Technology Fund II. Proceeds from the deal will allow Bluegrass Vascular to obtain CE Mark for the Surfacer™ Inside-Out Access Catheter System, enhance manufacturing capabilities, and proceed with US regulatory submissions. The Surfacer System is a proprietary system that allows physicians to gain venous access using a novel “inside-out” approach. “The Surfacer System addresses a significant unmet clinical need in the vascular access market by allowing physicians to gain access through a previously occluded vein,” stated Alan Dean, Senior Managing Director of Targeted Technology Fund II, and Bluegrass Vascular Director. “With a growing market awareness of central venous occlusion and interest in maintaining access, we believe Bluegrass Vascular is well positioned to have a strong presence in the dialysis and chemotherapy markets and is a valued addition to our investment portfolio.” The Targeted Technology Fund is a venture capital firm focused on early stage healthcare companies that offer disruptive technologies with compelling market needs. A leader in funding medical technology innovation in the Southwest, Targeted Technology Fund II stated that Bluegrass Vascular will relocate their headquarters to San Antonio as part of the deal. Approximately 6.5 million patients, worldwide, require central venous access (CVA) for medical treatment and it is estimated that more than 40% of those patients will develop a venous thrombosis, which may compromise their medical care. After all central veins become compromised, patients must resort to invasive surgical techniques to gain or maintain CVA. The Surfacer System maintains access in an occluded vein, halting the progression to invasive surgery and downstream health risks associated with poor circulation, using a less risky inside-out approach. “This financing enables us to pursue CE Mark applications and take us one step closer to providing a better solution for patients with venous obstruction,” commented Jim Clifton, CEO of Bluegrass Vascular. “The Targeted Technology Funds have a strong track record of bringing ground-breaking medical technology to market. We are pleased they share our vision for the Surfacer System and we look forward to commercializing the product in Europe and United States.” About Bluegrass Vascular Technologies: Founded in 2011, Bluegrass Vascular Technologies is a medical technology company dedicated to developing and commercializing life-saving devices and methods that address shortcomings in vascular access procedures. The company’s initial product offering, the Surfacer™ Inside-Out Access Catheter System, is a proprietary system that allows physicians to perform a novel “inside-out” approach to gaining venous access. For more information, please visit www.bluegrassvascular.com.

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Bluegrass Vascular scores $4.5 mln Series A

China pork giant WH Group raises $2.1 bln in HK IPO: Reuters

WH Group Ltd, the world’s biggest pork producer, has raised the $2.1 billion it sought in a Hong Kong initial public offering, a person with direct knowledge of the deal said on Wednesday. The IPO, which closed to the public on Tuesday, was the Chinese company’s second attempt this year to raise funds after investors shunned an earlier offer that aimed to raise up to $5.3 billion due to high valuations. WH Group, which counts private equity firm CDH Investments, Goldman Sachs and Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings among its shareholders, offered 2.57 billion new shares at a fixed price of HK$6.20 each. The deal could grow by 385.1 million shares and total as much as $2.36 billion if underwriters exercise an option to meet additional demand for the IPO, according to the prospectus. WH Group did not respond to Reuters emails seeking comment. The source declined to be named as the deal remained confidential. WH Group, which bought U.S. firm Smithfield Foods for $4.9 billion in 2013, initially planned to raise up to $5.3 billion to pay down debt taken on for the acquisition. But it was forced to pull the IPO in late April. In addition to high valuations sought, investors were also were turned off by mismanaged marketing after a record 29 banks were hired for the offering and sky-high executive compensation that raised corporate governance concerns. For its second attempt, just two banks – BOC International and Morgan Stanley – were hired as joint sponsors and joint global coordinators of the IPO. The banks stand to earn a combined $41 million, equivalent to a 1.5 percent underwriting commission and an incentive fee of up to 0.5 percent, according to the IPO prospectus. (Reporting by Elzio Barreto; Editing by Denny Thomas and Miral Fahmy)

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China pork giant WH Group raises $2.1 bln in HK IPO: Reuters

KKR-backed Rundong Auto to launch up to $138 mln HK IPO: Reuters

China’s Rundong Automobile Group, backed by private equity firm KKR & Co LP, said it will launch an up to $138 million initial public offering in Hong Kong on Thursday, betting on continued demand for luxury vehicles in the world’s second-largest economy. The IPO will consist of 268.62 million shares in an indicative range of HK$3.58 to HK$3.98, the company said in a statement, valuing the deal at up to HK$1.07 billion ($138.1 million). The company plans to use 30 percent of the proceeds to pay down bank loans, 20 percent for acquisitions and 19 percent to set up eight stores for BMW and MINI vehicles in Jiangsu and Shandong provinces and also in Shanghai. The IPO is slated to be priced on Aug. 5, with trading of the shares set for Aug. 12 on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Rundong Auto, which started operating in 1998, has 51 dealerships, with 36 stores in Jiangsu province in eastern China and the remainder in affluent coastal regions including Shanghai and in Shandong province. Most of its stores focus on BMW cars and other luxury brands like Jaguars and Audi, but it also sells Ferrari and Maserati sports cars as well as other mid to high-end brands. Profit jumped more than threefold to 100.2 million yuan ($16.22 million) in the three months ended in March from 29.2 million yuan in the same period in 2013, while sales grew 62.5 percent over the same period to 3.9 billion yuan, according to a preliminary prospectus of the IPO. For 2013, profits more than doubled to 248.4 million yuan from 2012, while sales rose 23 percent to 11.6 billion yuan. KKR invested $100 million in Rundong Auto in four separate rounds between December 2010 and November 2011 and owns a 26 percent stake in the company, according to the IPO prospectus. Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley were hired as sponsors and joint global coordinators of the IPO, with CCB International and Haitong International also acting as joint bookrunners. ($1 = 7.74 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Dancy Zhang; Writing by Elzio Barreto Editing by Matt Driskill)

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KKR-backed Rundong Auto to launch up to $138 mln HK IPO: Reuters

Nauta Capital invests $3.4 mln in ABA English

Nauta Capital has provided $3.4 million in funding for ABA English, an online English teaching platform. The Barcelona, Spain-based e-learning startup was launched in 2013. The funding from Nauta will help accelerate ABA’s growth and international expansion. Press Release The online English platform ABA English has just closed its first funding round for $3.4 million with the venture firm Nauta Capital. ABA English specializes in online English teaching using a robust learning methodology, exclusive media content and its own developed interactive technology. The Barcelona based e-learning start-up was launched in 2013 with new unique content and a new go-to-market approach. In its first year it reached 1 million students in 170 countries, with a particularly strong presence in Italy, France, Spain, Brazil and Mexico. The funding from Nauta will be devoted to accelerate ABA’s growth and international expansion. According to Jordi Viñas, General Partner at Nauta Capital who led the transaction: “With our investment in ABA English, Nauta confirms its commitment to innovative companies that use unique technology as a tool to disrupt traditional large spaces as for instance Education. Since ABA English was launched, the company has already proven its ability to attract and retain hundreds of thousands of customers to its platform, with a product that is innovative, attractive and is based on a highly robust methodology. All these goals were achieved with a highly efficient use of the equity raised prior to Nauta’s investment.” Javier Figarola, ABA English’s CEO and cofounder, said: “Nauta’s funding will help the company drive exponential growth: we will invest in marketing and internal resources to bolster our number of students and our worldwide position, and we will also finalize and launch new technology developments for mobile devices. Nauta is a key partner for ABA; in addition to funding, the investment firm will contribute with their strong expertise in disruptive technologies and international business development.” About ABA English ABA English is a Barcelona based start-up that was born with the mission of democratizing English learning in the world. It created a platform on which English is taught in an effective and entertaining manner: with short films shot in locations such as Barcelona, New York and London. In ABA English the language is learned through a natural method which simulates the speaker’s natural process in a real life context, as a child learns his mother tongue: first, one understands and learns to speak, then grammar and writing are learned. Thus, the course is useful for both beginners and advanced students who wish to perfect their English or want to prepare for an exam. About Nauta Capital Nauta Capital is a Venture Capital firm investing in early stage technology companies. Main areas of interest include B2B Software propositions, disruptive Digital Media companies, and enabling technologies for Mobile and the Internet. Nauta has $230 million under management and invests in Western Europe and the USA. Nauta has presence in London (UK), Boston, MA (USA), and Barcelona (Spain). In addition to ABA English, existing investments include leading companies like Scytl, Eyeview Digital, Brandwatch, Social Point, Privalia and Greatcall.

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Nauta Capital invests $3.4 mln in ABA English