CAMBRIDGE, U.K., Nov. 17, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Lorantis, an immunology drug discovery and development company, announced today the closing of a 25 Pounds ($42) million series C private financing round led by Funds advised by Apax Partners. Apax Partners Funds were joined in this financing round by existing investors Abingworth Management, JP Morgan Partners, Quester Capital Management, Schroder Ventures, The Wellcome Trust and funds managed by Fleming Family and Partners. The investment will enable the clinical development programmes to begin on the Company's innovative products for the treatment of immune diseases, such as allergy, arthritis and transplantation, as well as supporting new lines of research.

"The closing of this financing round is a significant milestone for Lorantis. It gives Lorantis the substantial resources we need to move our products into clinical development and establish the key clinical milestones which will underpin the future value of the Company. We are delighted that such a high quality group of life sciences investors recognise the enormous opportunity that Lorantis offers," said Dr. Mark Bodmer, CEO of Lorantis.

Cathrin Petty, Director of Apax Partners, commented "Lorantis' products have the potential to revolutionise the treatment of allergy and autoimmune diseases by selective action on the immune system. We look forward to working with the Company as it takes these products into the clinic."

Lorantis has discovered a fundamental immune mechanism, by which the immune response to any disease-causing antigen may be suppressed while the vital normal function of the immune system as a whole is preserved. The Company is developing a pipeline of protein and DNA therapeutics for the treatment of immune disorders using its proprietary antigen-specific therapy (ASPECT(TM)) platforms. This new class of targeted medicines has the potential to transform the treatment of a broad range of major immunological disorders, including allergy, autoimmune disease and transplant rejection

Notes to Editors

About Lorantis

Lorantis' products target billion dollar plus markets with unmet medical need. The products are designed to replace many of the current non-specific immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory drugs by specifically modulating the immune response to disease-causing antigens. Patients will benefit from therapy which is targeted directly at the immune disorder of their disease. This should provide greater, focussed efficacy and avoid the side effects of general suppression of immune and inflammatory responses. Lorantis is located in Cambridge UK and employs 50 staff at its new facilities on the Cambridge Science Park.

About Apax Partners

Apax Partners is one of the world's leading private equity investment groups, operating across Europe, Israel, the United States and Japan. With over 30 years of direct investing experience, Apax Partners' Funds provides long-term equity financing to entrepreneurs to build and strengthen world-class companies. It pursues a balanced equity portfolio strategy, investing in companies at all stages of development from early stage to buy-out. Apax Partners' Funds invests in companies across its 6 chosen global sectors of: information technology; telecommunications; healthcare; media; financial services; retail and consumer. Some of Apax Partners Funds' healthcare investments include: Affymax, Atugen, Compugen, Ionix Pharmaceuticals, Intercell, Microscience, Procognia, NicOx and ZymoGenetics.

Apax Partners manages and advises over $12 billion on behalf of leading institutional investors around the world. For more information visit: www.apax.com

Please click on link to view formatted press release. Attachments: http://hugin.info/134722/R/925222/125894.pdf

Lorantis Financing
Lorantis
Dr. Mark Bodmer, CEO
Tel: +44 (0)1223 702502
Email: 

Apax Partners
Siobhan Loftus, Director of Marketing
Tel: +44 (0)20 7872 6495
Email: 

Clare Sillars, Press Officer
Tel: +44 (0)20 7872 6476
Email: 

For Press inquiries, please contact:

Euro RSCG NRP
Julia Phillips
Tel: +44 (0)20 7726 4452