Armetheon raises $24M to get its anticoagulant into Phase III

Menlo Park, CA's Armetheon raised a $24.3 million B round to support work on a new oral blood thinner the biotech believes can fill a hole in the blockbuster anticoagulant market.

The drug, tecarfarin, works by blocking an enzyme called VKOR that plays a role in blood clotting. In its Phase II trials, the tablet has so far avoided the side effects common in standard-of-care warfarin, Armetheon said. And the company believes it can make a meaningful difference for patients with prosthetic heart valves, a group often ineligible for next-generation drugs like Xarelto and Eliquis.

Now, with new cash from a syndicate including Hercules Bioventure Partners and Capital TEN II, the biotech is planning a 3,000-patient Phase III trial to prove tecarfarin's worth. Armetheon plans to test the drug against warfarin to see which if it can better help patients stay in the target range of anticoagulation, in which blood takes about two to three times as long to clot as it would normally.

CEO Ken Kengatharan

The FDA signed off on Armetheon's trial design in April, and the company's $24.3 million haul will clear the way for pivotal development, CEO Ken Kengatharan said.

"The funds will primarily be used to advance tecarfarin's new drug application filing timeline and to build an expanded organization to support Armetheon's core mission of obtaining regulatory approval for tecarfarin in the U.S.," Kengatharan said in a statement.

Kengatharan started Armetheon in 2011 alongside Impax Labs ($IPXL) founder Larry Hsu and CV Therapeutics founder Peter Milner. The group closed a $7 million A round last year to get tecarfarin rolling.

- read the announcement