DanioLabs Ltd. was established in October 2001 to develop new drugs for neuro-ophthalmologic disorders. Frustrated at the lack of effective treatments available in these areas, the company's founder set about using zebrafish models of human disease to identify both novel drug targets and effective new drugs. Zebrafish can be manipulated to provide particularly good models of a number of human diseases, including CNS, ophthalmologic, digestive and cardiovascular system disorders.
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Senexis Ltd. spun-out of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology to develop novel therapeutics and diagnostics for currently incurable aging-related disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and type 2 diabetes. In addition to being more prevalent in the older population, these diseases also share a similar underlying etiology; they are all associated with amyloidosis.
Encouraged by successes in the biotech space, public market investors' interest in the device arena has returned in 2004 to support 10 companies' IPOs so far. Windhover's analysis of the valuations achieved indicate that private investors in these companies have, on average, enjoyed larger returns than their biotech counterparts.
Europe's pre-emption rights significantly hamper biotech fundraising. But since they're unlikely to go away, European firms are having to find clever ways around them.