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Atlas Venture Reaps Rewards of Long-Term Commitment to Life

 Sciences as Biotech Stocks Outperform Expectations  
Business/Health Editors  
BOSTON--(BW HealthWire)--Sept. 14, 2000--  
Seven Biotech Portfolio Companies Launch IPOs This Year: Actelion, 
deCODE genetics, Exelixis, MediGene, Modex Therapeutiques, Neurochem,  
Variagenics  
Atlas Venture, the international venture capital firm, announced 
record results for its life sciences investments this year. Since 
April, seven of Atlas Venture's biotech portfolio companies - four in 
Europe and three in North America - have launched initial public 
offerings, raising more than $750 million. As of September 1, 2000, 
these seven companies have an aggregate market capitalization of more 
than $7 billion.  
In the mid-1990s, when many venture capital firms were cutting 
back on biotech investments, Atlas Venture held to the view that 
biotechnology was key to the future and anticipated the impact of the 
Human Genome Project. Today, Atlas Venture is reaping the rewards of 
that strategy.  
"Unlike most venture firms that abandoned the sector in recent 
years to invest almost exclusively in Internet and communications 
companies, we have maintained a strong position in the biotech sector 
worldwide," says Jean-Francois Formela, Senior Principal at Atlas 
Venture.  
"Almost 50 of our 189 portfolio companies are in the life sciences 
sector," adds Dr. Formela. "We strongly believe in the value of a 
diversified portfolio, and the life sciences are a crucial component 
of that strategy. We focus on industry fundamentals rather than follow 
public market sentiment."  
George Scangos, CEO of San Francisco-based Exelixis, which 
pioneered the field of functional genomics, comments: "A few years 
back we had a couple of difficult moments at a time when the market 
had a negative view of biotechnology, but Atlas supported us 
throughout and helped us to realize our potential."  
This focus began to bear fruit early last year, when MorphoSys 
became the first biopharmaceutical company to list on the German Neuer 
Markt.  
Today, after the completion of the first draft of the Human Genome 
earlier this year, Atlas Venture's long-term strategy is paying off 
handsomely. Exelixis is trading at 253 percent over the IPO price. 
Actelion, one of the largest biotech IPOs in Europe, rose 80 percent 
after its first day of trading and is currently trading 208 percent 
above its IPO price.  
Following is background on the seven Atlas Venture biotech 
portfolio companies that have gone public in 2000:  
Actelion Ltd.  
SWX:  ATLN  
Priced: April 6, 2000  
Pre-money: CHF 971M ($593M)  
Raised: CHF 260M ($159M)  
Current market cap (September 1, 2000): CHF 3.8B ($2.2B),  
up 208% from IPO  
Description: Actelion, the first Swiss biotech company to be  
floated on the Swiss New Market Index, is committed to  
pharmaceutical research and the development of new drugs,  
including new treatment for patients with acute and chronic  
heart failure.  
http://www.actelion.com  
deCODE genetics, Inc.  
NASDAQ & EASDAQ:  DCGN  
Priced: July 17, 2000  
Pre-money: $601M  
Raised: $199M  
Current market cap (September 1, 2000):$1.2B, up 53% from IPO  
Description:  deCODE genetics, based in Iceland, is a  
population-based genomics company conducting  
research into the inherited causes of common diseases.  
http://www.decode.com  
Exelixis Inc.  
NASDAQ:  EXEL  
Priced: April 10, 2000  
Pre-money: $438M  
Raised: $136M  
Current market cap (September 1, 2000): $2.0B, up 253% from IPO  
Description: Exelixis, based in South San Francisco, is a  
leader in model system genetics and comparative genomics. Its  
proprietary technologies exploit the conservation of genes  
and gene function between diverse species to identify and  
understand gene function and to select commercial targets for  
the pharmaceutical, diagnostic, agricultural biotechnology  
and animal health industries. In June 2000, Exelixis was  
selected by Red Herring as one of the 50 private companies  
most likely to change the world. http://www.exelixis.com  
MediGene AG  
FNM:  MDG  
Priced: June 30, 2000  
Pre-money: Euro 448M ($426M)  
Raised: Euro 125M ($119M)  
Current market cap (September 1, 2000): Euro 826M ($734M),  
up 85% from IPO  
Description:  MediGene, a German biotechnology company  
specializing in cardiology and oncology; the  
company has a number of products in pre-clinical and  
clinical development.  
http://www.medigene.com  
Modex Therapeutiques SA  
SWX:  MDXN  
Priced: June 21, 2000  
Pre-money: CHF 149M ($92M)  
Raised: CHF 83M ($51M)  
Current market cap (September 1, 2000):  
CHF 461M ($265M), up 99% from IPO  
Description:  Modex Therapeutiques is a Swiss company  
focused on tissue repair, regeneration and  
replacement.  
http://www.modextherapeutics.com  
Neurochem, Inc.  
TSE:  NRM  
Priced: June 13, 2000  
Pre-money: C$105M ($71M)  
Raised: C$37M ($25M)  
Current market cap (September 1, 2000):  
C$155M ($105M), up 9% from IPO  
Description:  Neurochem, located in Quebec, Canada,  
specializes in developing drugs for diseases  
characterized by toxic deposits of amyloid protein.  
Current targets include Alzheimer's Disease,  
certain Systemic Amyloidosis disorders, Hemorrhagic Stroke  
and Type II Diabetes.  
http://www.neurochem.com  
Variagenics, Inc.  
NASDAQ:  VGNX  
Priced: July 21, 2000  
Pre-money: $234M  
Raised: $81M, plus $7.5M from a concurrent private placement  
Current market cap (September 1, 2000):$736M, up 94% from IPO  
Description:  Variagenics, based in Cambridge, MA, is engaged  
in the business of identifying clinically  
important variances in genes that affect drug action, and  
applying this information to the discovery and  
development of new pharmaceutical products, diagnostic  
products and disease-management practices.  
http://www.variagenics.com  
About Atlas Venture  
Atlas Venture is the leading international, early-stage venture 
capital firm investing in Internet, communications, and health and 
life sciences companies. With offices in Amsterdam, Boston, London, 
Menlo Park, Munich, and Paris, Atlas Venture's investments are split 
evenly between the United States and Europe.  
Founded in 1980, Atlas Venture has organized five international 
funds, and currently manages $1.6 billion in committed capital. The 
Atlas Venture investment team is comprised of seasoned operating 
executives and career venture capitalists who have been deeply 
involved in the formation and development of more than 300 companies - 
from entrepreneurial startups to industry-leading enterprises - 
worldwide.  
Recent Atlas Venture portfolio company IPOs include Actelion (SWX: 
ATLN), deCODE genetics (Nasdaq: DCGN), Exelixis (Nasdaq: EXEL), Modex 
Therapeutiques SA (SWX: MDXN), Orchestream Ltd (LSE: OCH), SpeechWorks 
International (Nasdaq: SPWX), and Variagenics (Nasdaq: VGNX). Recent 
acquisitions of Atlas Venture portfolio companies include Cerulean 
Technology (Aether), eGroups (Yahoo), OnDisplay (Vignette), Trading 
Dynamics (Ariba), Omnia Communications (CIENA), RightPoint Software 
(E.piphany), and T.sqware (GlobeSpan). (For more information, see 
www.atlasventure.com.)  
About Dr. Formela  
Jean-Francois Formela joined Atlas Venture in 1993. Prior to 
joining Atlas Venture, he was Senior Director of Medical Marketing and 
Scientific Affairs at Schering-Plough in the United States, where he 
also held biotechnology licensing and marketing responsibilities. A 
French national, he received his MD from Paris University School of 
Medicine and received an MBA degree from Columbia University in New 
York. He is a member of the board of directors of numerous biotech 
companies, including BioChem Pharma, deCODE genetics, Exelixis, 
Variagenics and several private companies.  
Contact Information  
For further information on Atlas Venture, please call Karen Warner 
at (617) 488-2267 or Davia B. Temin of Temin and Company at (212) 
588-8788. On the web, Atlas Venture can be visited at 
www.atlasventure.com.