Omeicos raises €17M to run phase 2 atrial fibrillation trial

heart
Forbion, an investor with a track record of success in cardiovascular disease, saw potential in the existing data. (Bryan Brandenburg/CC BY-SA 3.0)

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.

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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.