With a Phase III study of its lead drug now under way, Omthera Pharmaceuticals is reporting that it has raised a hefty $33.9 million in its second round of venture cash. New Enterprise Associates stepped in to lead the round, with former MedImmune chief David Mott now slated to join the biotech's board. Sofinnova Partners, which had set up the Series A, also participated in the new round.
Much of that money will be used to complete trials for Epanova, an Omega-3 drug that is being positioned as a superior choice to Lovaza. At the beginning of the year, the Bedminster, NJ-based Omthera touted data demonstrating its therapy had greater bioavailability than Lovaza.
"Omthera continues to generate very positive data indicating that Epanova has the potential to become the best-in-class therapy in the nearly $2 billion worldwide Rx Omega-3 market and an important treatment for the millions of patients suffering from high triglycerides," said Jerry Wisler, the CEO of Omthera. "As such, we are delighted to gain the support of a venture capital firm of the stature of NEA to lead this substantial new funding."
"There is a distinct market need for a more effective and convenient prescription-strength Omega-3 treatment option for patients suffering from very high triglycerides who need to maintain a low-fat diet," says Mott. "Data generated to date [indicate] that Epanova has solid promise in this area, with the potential to deliver improved and more predictable bioavailability than currently available ethyl ester based formulations of Omega-3s. Epanova has the potential to capture significant market share and eclipse currently available therapies to become the drug of choice."
- see the Omthera release