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03/26/2007

Amira Pharmaceuticals Raises $25 Million in Series B Financing

 

Amira Pharmaceuticals, a privately-held biopharmaceutical company focused on developing new drugs to treat inflammatory disease, recently announced that it has raised $25 million in a private equity financing led by Novo A/S. Additional investors in the Series B round included Avalon Ventures, Prospect Venture Partners and Versant Ventures, all founding investors.

With the completion of this financing round, Amira has raised a total of $40 million since the company’s inception two years ago.

The additional funding will enable the company to advance multiple drug candidates through clinical proof of concept, including AM103 to treat respiratory and cardiovascular conditions. An Investigational Medicinal Product Dossier (IMPD) for AM103 is expected to be filed in Europe within the next two months.

AM103 was discovered by the Amira team and has two back-up compounds in the final stages of preclinical development. The respiratory market alone for each of these compounds is estimated to be between USD 2-3 billion. Discussions are underway with several potential pharmaceutical partners.

Peppi Prasit, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Amira, said: “The new investment from Novo, alongside the valued support of our founding investors, will allow us to reach clinically meaningful results in several programs within a short period of time.

“We have already achieved a lot in terms of discovery – now it’s time for our development program to investigate the potential for these novel medicines, several of which have the potential to be best-in-class blockbuster treatments.“

“We are very impressed with the successful track record and continued ability of the drug hunters at Amira,” said Heath Lukatch, Ph.D., Novo Partner and new member of Amira’s Board of Directors. “This is a team who was pivotal in the discovery of three major drugs while previously at Merck & Co (Singulair�, Vioxx�, and Arcoxia�) and they have proved they can go beyond those discoveries to create the potentially significant medicines of the future. It is extraordinary to have achieved so much in two years and we appreciate the opportunity to support them at a crucial time in the company’s development.”

As a result of the financing, Heath Lukatch will join the Amira Board, alongside Bradley Bolzon of Versant Ventures, Kevin Kinsella of Avalon Ventures,  James Tananbaum of Prospect Venture Partners and Peppi Prasit, a co-founder of Amira.

Founded in 2005 and headquartered in San Diego, Amira Pharmaceuticals is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company, focused on inflammatory disease.

The founding team at Amira has over 100 combined years of experience in drug discovery, which includes the development of marketed drugs for a variety of indications. Its scientific founders have successfully worked together for over a decade.

In January 2006, Amira signed a collaboration agreement with Roche covering a research alliance and an option for Amira to license two clinical-stage compounds from Roche.

For more information, visit www.amirapharm.com