May 19, 2009
Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Elixir Pharmaceuticals has announced the raising of $12 million in equity funding with MPM Capital leading the funding. As part of the agreement in receiving this equity, Elixir will sign an option agreement with a major pharmaceutical company. Other investors who participated in this funding include Elixir’s existing investors, ARCH Venture Partners, Oxford Bioscience Partners, the Omega Fund, and Physic Ventures.
Elixir Pharmaceuticals is a company that develops treatments for metabolic diseases. One of these diseases is diabetes. The company not only develops these drugs, but also commercializes the drugs for the market. One of the drugs that Elixir Pharmaceuticals is currently developing is Ghrelin which is designed to treat Type 2 Diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes is a disease which has a characteristic of high blood sugar caused by the pancreas not being able to produce insulin in the body. Unlike Type 1 Diabetes, which affects people from childhood, Type 2 Diabetes usually develops later in a person’s life. Type 2 Diabetes can be a serious disease which sometimes causes amputations of limbs and is estimated to affect over 32 million Americans, with a quarter of that number not being diagnosed with the disease.
According to Dr. Paul Martha, MD, CEO and president of Elixir Pharmaceuticals, Type 2 Diabetes continues to have an alarming growth rate and is one of the leading causes of death and there is a serious need for new innovative therapies for this chronic disease. Furthermore Elixir Pharmaceuticals is developing ghrelin, which is an antagonist specifically for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes and other metabolic diseases. Dr. Martha further adds that the company’s partnership with Novartis and the team at Elixir is looking forward to working with them on the ghrelin antagonism program.
As far as Todd Foley, managing partner at MPM Capital, is concerned, this is an important commitment from the vc firm’s Bio IV NVS Strategic Fund, LP and is a testament to the beliefs of the team at MPM that Elixir’s ghrelin antagonism program for Type 2 Diabetes has good potential.
Founded in 1996, Novartis is the No. 2 pharmaceutical company worldwide and was created with the merging of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz, both of which were major pharmaceutical companies with rich histories. The company began with Ciba-Geigy which was founded in 1758 originally creating and selling dyes and later started to develop pharmaceuticals for a whole wide range of different diseases. In 1973, the Ciba-Geigy Pharmaceutical Company launched its set of drugs to treat rheumatism, and later in 1977, Sandoz introduced the antiallergic drug, Zaditan. In 1996 the two companies merged into what is today Novartis and in 2002 Novartis increased investments in Roche Holding, AG and acquired Slovenian pharmaceutical company, Lek Pharmaceuticals $900 million. Novartis produces both pharmaceuticals and vaccines and works with other pharmaceutical companies which have innovative pharmaceutical solutions to treat problem diseases.
MPM Capital is one of the world’s largest equity firms that solely focuses on the life sciences industry and has over $2.4 billion under its management. Some companies in MPM’s portfolio include Affymax, Alinea, Alsius, Archus Orthopedics, Aryx, Avio, and others.
ARCH Venture Partners is a vc firm that mainly invests in the life sciences and other science industries and invests in entrepreneurs who have an original and innovative product that could benefit of a good market potential.
For more information on Elixir Pharmaceuticals, click here