25 Oct 1999



Simmons & Simmons advised Prolifix, the UK-based cell cycle company, in respect of an innovative tripartite Research and Collaboration Agreement (the "Agreement") it entered into on 14 October 1999 with Eli Lilly and Company and Chugai Pharmaceuticals of Japan, to develop small molecule drugs which regulate the activity of the key cell cycle transcription factor E2F. As part of the Agreement, Eli Lilly and Chugai will make equity investments in Prolifix. Prolifix was also advised by Simmons & Simmons in relation to a fund-raising by means of a £4 million private share placement which took place on 15 October.

In advising Prolifix on these deals, Simmons & Simmons was able to combine its venture capital, intellectual property and biotechnology expertise. The firm only recently advised MediDesk, a company that provides information management to healthcare professionals through Internet technology-based innovation, in respect of its £6.25 million capital raising.

Prolifix is focused on the discovery and development of new drugs for the modulation of cell proliferation. Potential applications include cancer, coronary artery restenosis and infectious disease. The Agreement will build upon and extend the success of an existing collaboration between Prolifix and Chugai Pharmaceuticals, which was initiated in 1995.

The fund raising involved reinvestment in Prolifix by three existing investors in the company, Atlas Venture Fund, 3i and GIMV, together with a significant investment by Swedish investment group HealthCap, which specialises in investments in the life sciences sector.

The Simmons & Simmons team on the Agreement included partner Gerry Kamstra (Intellectual Property), Bryan Driscoll (Intellectual Property), partner Melanie Farquharson (Competition) and Davina Garrod (Competition), and on the private share placement included Allan Rippon (Corporate) and Isabella Roberts (Corporate).


Notes for editors:

1. Simmons & Simmons is worldclass law firm with offices in London, Paris, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Lisbon, Milan, Rome, Madrid, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Shanghai and New York with over 1,400 staff worldwide. For further information on Simmons & Simmons please visit our website at

2. The Corporate Department at Simmons & Simmons comprises over 220 legal staff (115 in London), including 47 partners (27 in London). It advises on the whole range of corporate finance activity, and mergers and acquisitions as well as other corporate law matters for listed and unlisted companies, in the United Kingdom and overseas.

3. The Biotechnology Practice Group at Simmons & Simmons is multi-disciplinary and provides a full range of services relating to biotechnology. The Group includes members of the firm's Intellectual Property and Corporate Departments, as well as Employment, Tax, EU/Competition and Environmental lawyers. The Group has several bioscience qualified lawyers and others who have worked in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.