After Pfizer's InnoPharma buyout, investors back team with $55M for next specialty pharma

A syringe held in two hands

Specialty pharma InnoPharma was acquired by Pfizer ($PFE) a few years ago for up to $360 million. Now, the team behind that effort is at it again with another injectable and ophthalmic play. Dubbed Nevakar, the Bridgewater, NJ-based startup has already raised $55 million.

Navneet Puri founded InnoPharma in 2005 and led the generic injectable player through the acquisition by Pfizer in September 2014, but remained as Pfizer VP of worldwide R&D until July 2015.

He left all that security at Pfizer to start and head up Nevakar which, like InnoPharma, aims to create novel formulations of existing approved drugs for injectable and ophthalmic use. Puri started his career working on parenteral drug development and drug delivery at Baxter ($BAX) and Amgen ($AMGN).

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The entire four-person management team at Nevakar traces back to InnoPharma.

"Completion of this offering is a key milestone achievement for Nevakar, as it allows us to accelerate the development of our product pipeline to address significant unmet clinical and commercial needs," said Puri. "Our product pipeline now contains multiple development programs that are expected to provide patient-centric benefits."

Nevakar plans to “reposition” drugs with novel or improved formulation, improved packaging and novel drug delivery. It expects to submit to the FDA for these enhanced products via the 505(b)(2) regulatory pathway.

The company did not disclose the identity of its investors. InnoPharma backers included Thomas, McNerney & Partners and NXT Capital, according to CrunchBase.

VCs only put about $23 million in equity, alongside $20 million in debt, into InnoPharma. That would have given investors roughly a 10x return on the $225 million upfront payment alone in that deal.

- here is the release

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