QuatRx

Fierce 15 Winner

Based: Ann Arbor, MI
Founded: 2000
Website: www.quatrx.com

The Scoop: "When Plan A didn't quite work out the way it had hoped, QuatRx went back to the venture capital board and ginned enough capital to go into late-stage testing."

What makes it Fierce: Five years ago, when QuatRx rounded up its first $10 million in venture capital, the company plan was simple and straightforward: They'd push compounds through proof of concept and then do deals on them with other companies ready and able to pull off Phase III. And when the time was right, there was an IPO in the offing.

It didn't quite work out that way, though. Its IPO was pulled due to market conditions in mid '06, but that hasn't slowed its development work. QuatRx has just garnered a whopping $44 million from venture backers in part to finance a late-stage trial of its lead therapy.

"All companies like us morph and evolve and need to be opportunistic," says CEO Robert Zerbe, M.D., an experienced researcher who helped found the company seven years ago. Opportunism is a word that figures frequently in his discussions of QuatRx. The biotech company now has one program--Ophena--that will be fully enrolled for Phase III in the summer with data expected months later. A second program is in Phase II and there's a lipid program in Phase I.

What to look for: The new money gives QuatRx enough cash to get through to the end of '08, when it should have additional late-stage data on Ophena, Phase II data on fispemifene and into Phase II for 431. Ophena is being presented as a logical opportunity for co-marketing if they go beyond the ob-gyn market and into the GP arena. And 431 is for the kind of indication "you would want a partner for," says Zerbe.

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