Collegium Pharma scores $22M round for abuse-preventing painkiller in Phase III

Venture backers have rallied behind Collegium Pharmaceutical to continue a late-stage trial for its extended-release version of oxycodone. The investors--led by Longitude Capital and Skyline Ventures, and including Frazier Healthcare Ventures and Boston Millennia Partners--are betting $22.5 million in the developer's Series B round.

With traditional oxycodone offering a recipe for abuse, Collegium has a proprietary formulation of the popular pain drug dubbed COL-003 that aims to thwart the type of tampering such as crushing and snorting the drug that addicts employ. A late-stage trial for the company's lead drug is under way, and the fresh round of capital is expected to be enough to fund the developer through potential FDA approval of the treatment, according to the company's release. Collegium plans to file an application for U.S. approval of COL-003 in 2013.

"We believe that with the ongoing national epidemic of prescription drug abuse there remains a significant unmet clinical need for tamper-resistant formulations that can mitigate abuse/misuse of opioid products," Collegium CEO Michael Heffernan said in the release.

A challenge for Collegium, naturally, will be setting itself apart from the pack of drugmakers in the pain field. Competitors are at various stages of advancing their own recipes for stymying abuse of pain pills. For instance, Purdue Pharma won FDA approval for a new formulation of OxyContin (oxycodone) in 2010 that offers controlled release of the drug and measures to prevent tampering.

- here's Collegium's release

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