BEDMINSTER, N.J., March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Omthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately-held emerging specialty pharmaceuticals company, announced today that it has raised $33.9 million in a Series B funding round, led by new investor, New Enterprise Associates ("NEA"), one of the world's leading venture capital firms. Existing investor, Sofinnova Partners, also participated in the financing. The capital raised will be used to fund the Phase 3 clinical development of Omthera's novel Omega-3 fatty acid compound, Epanova™, and for general corporate purposes. With this latest round, Omthera has raised approximately $40.4 million in venture capital since commencement of operations in 2009.
In a separate press release issued today, Omthera announced that the Company has initiated its pivotal Phase III EVOLVE (EpanoVa fOr Lowering Very high triglyceridEs) trial for Epanova, for the treatment of patients with very high triglycerides (greater than or equal to 500 mg/dL). In January 2011, the Company announced data from its ECLIPSE (Epanova Compared to Lovaza In a Pharmacokinetic Single-dose Evaluation) trial, designed to evaluate the bioavailability of Epanova in comparison to Lovaza®, the leading prescription Omega-3. Data from the trial showed that the bioavailability of Epanova was dramatically superior to Lovaza.
"Omthera continues to generate very positive data indicating that Epanova has the potential to become the best-in-class therapy in the nearly $2 billion worldwide Rx Omega-3 market and an important treatment for the millions of patients suffering from high triglycerides," stated Jerry Wisler, President, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Omthera. "As such, we are delighted to gain the support of a venture capital firm of the stature of NEA to lead this substantial new funding."
David M. Mott, formerly the Chief Executive Officer of MedImmune, and now a General Partner at NEA, has joined Omthera's Board of Directors, bringing the Board to four members. Mr. Wisler added, "We appreciate the continued strong support of Sofinnova Partners and welcome our newest Board member, David Mott, who brings a wealth of experience to our growing Company. The participation of Sofinnova Partners, together with David and NEA, reflects the market's confidence in the potential of Epanova. The funds raised in this latest round will enable Omthera to progress its clinical program with Epanova in patients with very high triglyceride levels and mixed dyslipidemia through to a New Drug Application filing, which is anticipated to occur in 2012."
Mr. Mott noted, "I am very pleased to join the Omthera team and believe strongly in the Company's value proposition. Management's significant expertise and proven track record have allowed the Company to move rapidly since inception to bring the clinical development of Epanova to this important inflection point." He continued, "There is a distinct market need for a more effective and convenient prescription-strength Omega-3 treatment option for patients suffering from very high triglycerides who need to maintain a low-fat diet. Data generated to date indicates that Epanova has solid promise in this area, with the potential to deliver improved and more predictable bioavailability than currently available ethyl ester based formulations of Omega-3s. Epanova has the potential to capture significant market share and eclipse currently available therapies to become the drug of choice."
Mr. Mott, with more than 20 years of experience in the life sciences industry, including his 16 year tenure at MedImmune, focuses on biopharmaceutical investments at NEA. He is currently Chairman of 3-V Biosciences and Zyngenia, and is a director of Ardelyx, Epizyme, and TESARO.
About Sofinnova Partners
Sofinnova Partners is an independent venture capital firm based in Paris, France. For over 35 years, the firm has backed nearly 500 companies at different stages of development – pure creations, spin-offs, as well as turnaround situations – and worked alongside Europe's key entrepreneurs in the technology, life sciences and cleantech sectors. With euro 1.1 billion of funds under management, Sofinnova Partners' experienced team and hands-on approach in building portfolio companies through to exit have created market leaders, from landmark historical investments including Genentech, Actelion and Vistaprint to more recent successes such as CoreValve, Novexel, Fovea, Sensitive Object, Movetis and PreGlem.
Please visit www.sofinnova.fr for more information on Sofinnova Partners' team and portfolio.
About New Enterprise Associates
New Enterprise Associates, Inc. is a leading venture capital and growth equity firm focused on helping entrepreneurs build transformational businesses across multiple stages, sectors and geographies. With approximately $11 billion in committed capital, NEA invests in information technology, healthcare and energy technology companies at all stages in a company's lifecycle, from seed stage through IPO. Since the firm's founding in 1978, NEA's experienced management team has invested in over 650 companies, of which more than 165 have gone public and more than 265 have been acquired. In the U.S., NEA has two offices in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and one in Menlo Park, California. In addition, New Enterprise Associates (India) Pvt. Ltd. has offices in Bangalore and Mumbai, India and New Enterprise Associates (Beijing) Ltd. has offices in Beijing and Shanghai, China. For additional information, visit www.nea.com.
About Omthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Founded in 2008, Omthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a privately-held, emerging specialty pharmaceuticals company focusing its efforts on the clinical development of new therapies for dyslipidemia. Led by a team of experts with exceptional experience in developing new therapies for lipid disorders, Omthera is dedicated to developing innovative therapies for the millions of patients who have elevated triglyceride levels and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The Company recently initiated a pivotal Phase III clinical trial for its lead product candidate, Epanova, an Omega-3 fatty acid compound in development as a triglyceride-lowering adjunct therapy to diet in patients with very high triglycerides (greater than or equal to 500 mg/dL). Future planned clinical trials for Epanova include patients with high triglycerides (greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL and less than or equal to 500 mg/dL) currently on statin therapy. Omthera holds worldwide rights to Epanova under a license from Chrysalis Pharma AG, a privately held Swiss Company that is the owner of the product. For more information, please visit www.omthera.com.
SOURCE Omthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc.