Omeicos Therapeutics has raised €17 million ($19 million) to develop an atrial fibrillation candidate. The Forbion-led series C round sets Omeicos up to run a phase 2 trial of its small molecule analogue of a natural omega-3 fatty acid metabolite.
Germany’s Omeicos spun out of the Max Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine in 2013 to work on synthetic analogues of unstable metabolites of omega-3 fatty acids. As the fatty acids can activate anti-arrhythmic, cardio-protective and anti-inflammatory pathways, Omeicos thought small molecule analogues of the metabolites could prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases.
OMT-28, an analogue of 17,18-epoxy eicosatetraenoic acid, is the most advanced manifestation of that thought. Preclinical tests suggest that by activating cardio-protecting signaling pathways, rather than inhibiting ion channels like existing drugs, Omeicos can stabilize the rhythm of the heart while remodeling its electrical and structural properties to provide curative effects.
Omeicos is yet to generate clinical evidence of these effects. But the drug came through a phase 1 trial in 75 healthy volunteers earlier this year, giving Omeicos the data to support a push into phase 2 and raise a series C round to bankroll the work.
Forbion, an investor with a track record of success in cardiovascular disease, saw enough potential in the data and underlying concept to lead the series C round.
“After having closely monitored Omeicos for some time, we felt really encouraged by their latest data in both atrial fibrillation and age-related macular degeneration, causing us to pull the trigger on an investment from our recently closed Forbion IV fund,” Holger Reithinger, general partner at Forbion, said in a statement.
Forbion was joined in the series C by existing investors in Omeicos, including Vesalius Biocapital, Remiges BioPharma Fund and High-Tech Gründerfonds. The existing investors helped Omeicos get off the ground and into the clinic with €6.2 million and €8.3 million series A and B rounds.
The latest show support from the syndicate has given Omeicos the means to run a placebo-controlled, dose-finding phase 2 in maintenance of sinus rhythm after electrical cardioversion in patients with persistent atrial fibrillation.
In parallel to the phase 2 preparations, Omeicos will continue exploring the ophthalmological uses of its compounds. Omeicos set up a Boston-based subsidiary last year to take treatments for macular edema through preclinical development, and has earmarked some of the series C cash for this work.