Collegium bags $50M to get its abuse-deterrent painkiller through the FDA

Canton, MA's Collegium Pharmaceutical put together a $50 million D round to ferry its abuse-discouraging opioid drug onto the market.

The cash will support Xtampza ER, an extended-release formulation of the addictive oxycodone that Collegium says is formulated to make it harder to abuse. Using a proprietary technology called DETERx, Collegium's painkiller is impervious to crushing and snorting or melting and injecting, the company said, but can still be blended with food or administered through feeding tubes for patients with difficulty swallowing.

The FDA accepted Xtampza ER's application in February, kicking off a standard 10-month review process. Collegium's latest funding round, led by TPG Biotech, will pay its way through that period and help fund the drug's potential launch, the company said.

Collegium's work comes amid some headline-grabbing controversy over the availability of addictive opioid drugs. In 2013, the FDA approved Zogenix's ($ZGNX) Zohydro, a pure hydrocodone product, leading to calls for Commissioner Margaret Hamburg's resignation by activists wary of the drug's potential for abuse. Since then, the agency has encouraged the development of abuse-deterrent formulations, approving Purdue Pharma's Hysingla and Zohydro ER, a reformulated version of the controversial drug. Meanwhile, Pfizer ($PFE) is moving ahead with a rival oxycodone product, and the FDA accepted its application for the extended-release drug around the same time as Collegium's.

The biotech's latest round also included RA Capital Management, Adage Capital Management, Rock Springs Capital, EcoR1 Capital, Eventide Asset Management and Aperture Venture Partners, coming on the heels of a $22 million Series B closed in 2012.

Beyond its lead candidate, Collegium is earmarking some of its new cash for pipeline therapies, including early-stage, DETERx-enabled formulations of oxymorphone, hydrocodone, morphine and methylphenidate.

- read the announcement

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