Big Pharma has eyes on Cerenis' HDL drug

Tiny French drug developer Cerenis has begun mid-stage trials of a new class of drug that behaves like high-density lipoprotein (HDL)--the good cholesterol that can clear arteries of the plaque that causes heart attacks. The drug developer has already been approached by several large pharma companies looking to grab a piece of the pie early, while the cost of entry is relatively cheap. But Cerenis execs are betting that CER-001 will shine in Phase II trials and have decided to wait until after they have mid-stage data in hand to consider a deal.

"We think we can go a lot further with this product," Jean-Louis Dasseux, who spent 25 years studying HDL before launching the CER-001 development program, told Bloomberg in an interview. "At the end of the Phase II, if we have plaque regression, this will be a major event. There won't be too many difficulties at that point to raise funds, either through a stock market listing, private financing, or through partnerships and alliances." Last year the developer raised $51.5 million in a Series C round. The company's investors include the Fund for Strategic Investment, Sofinnova Partners, HealthCap, Alta Partners and TVM Capital, EDF Ventures, OrbiMed and DAIWA Corporate Investment.

In Phase II trials, Cerenis is testing whether infusions of the drug prevent people who've already had a heart attack from suffering another. Mid-stage trials are expected to conclude next year. Dasseux hopes the drug could be approved by 2017 and top $8 billion in sales by 2021.

- check out the article from Bloomberg