01 Apr SEAF Leads Financing Round of EGeen International Corporation
The CEE Growth Fund (Growth Fund) and Baltics Small Equity Fund (BSEF), both managed by Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (SEAF), led the investment in the first round of financing for EGeen International Corporation, an Estonian innovative biotechnology company focused on drug target discovery, diagnostics and personalized medicine applications. This investment demonstrates the catalytic role SEAF is able to play in mobilizing capital at a critical point in the life cycle of an investment
The first round of financing raised $2.0 million in convertible notes, with the Growth Fund and BSEF investing $1.1 million and $0.4 million respectively. SEAF was accompanied by a number of private individuals as co-investors, several of whom are Americans of Estonian descent, including Steve Jurvetson, a managing director of information technology venture capital firm, Draper Fisher Jurvetson.
EGeen aims to develop a comprehensive genomics database of the Estonian population. EGeen, incorporated in the United States in May 2001, is a privately funded exclusive licensee, business unit and commercial arm of the Estonian Genome Foundation (EGV). EGeen’s unique competitive advantages include its exclusive commercial access to the health, genetic and biomarker databases of nearly the entire Estonian population, and high governmental and popular support for the EGV. It is also critically important that the Company operates within a clearly defined legal and ethical framework based on the Human Genome Research Act (HGRA), the most comprehensive law on genetic research in the world.
SEAF is an international venture fund management firm with headquarters in Washington DC. Since its inception in 1989, SEAF has developed a worldwide network of emerging market funds, focusing on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), and operating in 14 countries in Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and China. SEAF manages over $140 million, and has made over 190 investments worldwide.
The SEAF Central and Eastern European Growth Fund LLC (Growth Fund), established in 2000, is a $16.3 million venture capital fund that generally invests in the best performing, growth-oriented companies in the SEAF Central and Eastern European portfolio. Investments range from $500,000 to $3 million. The Growth Fund has made six investments since 2000. The Growth Fund’s investors include the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG), State Secretariat for Economic Affairs Switzerland (SECO), Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation (FINNFUND), the German Lutheran Church Pension Fund, Calvert World Values International Equity Fund, and Merfin Capital N.V. The Growth Fund operates from its offices in Washington DC and Warsaw (Poland).
The Baltics Small Equity Fund LLC (BSEF) is a venture capital fund investing in small and medium sized growth-oriented companies in Baltics countries. BSEF invests up to $400,000 in any one company. BSEF has made 22 investments since 1998. The shareholders of BSEF are the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Baltic American Enterprise Fund (BalAEF) and SEAF. BSEF operates from its offices in Tallinn (Estonia), Riga (Latvia) and Vilnius (Lithuania).
EGeen has been formed to become the first drug discovery company to have the capability of using information technology based high-throughput association studies to identify genetic markers suitable for drug and diagnostic target discovery and for drug marketing. This unique industrial-scale drug discovery approach will be possible through the Company’s exclusive access to the EGV database with a statistically significant number of genetic profiles and related medical information for nearly all of the Estonian population of 1.4 million people. Through historic migration and invasion, the Estonian population’s genetic heterogeneity is representative of Europeans/North Americans, providing widely applicable data. EGeen will be able to screen the entire genetic map without discrimination and find all genetic factors contributing to a disease. The database will be established in close cooperation with a country-wide network of 800 medical doctors acting as data collectors, taking advantage of Estonia’s universal healthcare system through which patient records are centrally collected and catalogued.