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Gensia to Open London Office, Expand R & D

December 01, 1987|GREG JOHNSON | Times Staff Writer

Gensia Pharmaceuticals will use proceeds of a recently completed, $9.7-million round of venture capital financing to establish a European subsidiary and expand existing research-and-development programs, Gensia President David F. Hale said Monday.

Headquarters will be in London, and the European subsidiary will oversee human clinical trials of diagnostic and therapeutic drugs as required by regulators in European countries, Vice President Paul Laikind said. Drugs often can be approved and sold in European countries more than a year before they gain U.S. regulatory approvals, he said.

Founded in 1986, Gensia is developing DNA-based drugs for treatment of a variety of diseases, including cardiovascular ailments. Hale was formerly president of Hybritech Inc., a monoclonal antibody-based biotechnology company acquired in 1986 by Eli Lilly & Co. for $490 million.

Gensia's recently completed financing round drew participation from several previous investors and Advent International and Abingworth Biotechnology Venture, two United Kingdom-based venture capital firms.

Most large pharmaceutical companies have subsidiaries in European countries to exploit the faster approval of new drugs, but most small start-ups lack the capital to create overseas operations, according to Jim McCamant, editor of San Francisco-based Medical Technology Stock Letter.

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