Healthcare Industry News:  Inflammatory Bowel Disease 

Biopharmaceuticals Gastroenterology Venture Capital

 News Release - January 17, 2006

Ocera Therapeutics, Inc., A New Gastrointestinal and Liver-Focused Company, Raises $14.5M in Series A Financing

Files IND for Crohn's Disease Trial with In-Licensed Compound

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 17 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Ocera Therapeutics Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of clinical candidates for the treatment of gastrointestinal and liver diseases, announced today the completion of a $14.5 million Series A financing. The financing was co-led by Domain Associates and Thomas, McNerney & Partners. The company also announced that it has successfully in-licensed its lead clinical candidate AST-120 from Kureha Corporation in Japan and filed an IND with the FDA. The license gives Ocera Therapeutics the rights to develop the drug for the treatment of gastrointestinal and liver diseases in North America and Europe. Series A funds will be used to initiate clinical trials with the compound, initially in Crohn's disease.

"We are extremely pleased to close the series A financing to support the development of our first clinical compound for the treatment of patients with Crohn's disease. We are also pleased to have filed our first IND for AST-120 for Crohn's Disease with the Food and Drug Administration," stated Laurent Fischer, MD, President and CEO of Ocera Therapeutics. "Ocera aims to develop safe and novel therapeutics for the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases where there are significant unmet medical needs, particularly for patients with mild to moderate Crohn's disease who suffer from fistulas. Our lead compound, AST-120, is an oral drug that already has extensive Japanese human safety data in more than 200,000 patients and has demonstrated promising clinical efficacy in patients with mild to moderate Crohn's disease. We are planning to initiate our first clinical trial in North America and Europe in the first half of 2006."

"We believe that Ocera is in an excellent position to develop a unique new oral therapy for Crohn's disease and other Inflammatory Bowel Disease," added Eckard Weber, MD, Partner at Domain Associates. "Our lead compound represents an opportunity to provide a much needed safe and effective alternative to existing therapy in this patient population."

"Ocera Therapeutics is building upon a significant body of clinical work conducted by our Japanese partner, which gives the company a real head start at inception," commented Pratik Shah, Ph.D., Venture Partner at Thomas, McNerney & Partners. "This round of financing will help Ocera Therapeutics advance its lead clinical candidate and we are confident in the focus and expertise of the management team as they initiate clinical trials."

Gastrointestinal diseases and liver diseases represent large markets with unmet medical needs. Specifically, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) affects approximately 1 million people in the U.S. and 4 million worldwide. One of the two major IBDs is Crohn's Disease, which affects approximately 500,000 patients and is expected to have a market size of over $1.7 billion by 2013.

AST-120, Ocera's lead clinical candidate, consists of orally delivered, nanoporous microspheres which absorb toxins in the GI tract. The company plans to investigate the drug for use in Crohn's disease, where it has shown promising efficacy results. The company also plans to explore the use of its lead candidate for treatment of other gastrointestinal and liver diseases.

About Ocera Therapeutics, Inc.

Ocera Therapeutics, Inc. is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company focused on the licensing, development and commercialization of proprietary clinical candidates to treat a broad range of gastrointestinal and liver diseases. Ocera Therapeutics was founded in 2005 by Laurent Fischer, MD, Eckard Weber, MD and Domain Associates, LLC. Ocera has identified late-stage clinical products which have the ability to address a variety of targeted diseases including irritable bowel syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and liver failure. Additional information on the Company can be found at

About Domain Associates

Founded in 1985, Domain Associates, L.L.C. is a venture capital firm with an exclusive focus on life sciences. With $1.4 billion of capital under management, Domain is headquartered in Princeton, NJ with a second office in Laguna Niguel, CA. Domain's three major investment segments are pharmaceuticals, specialty pharmaceuticals and medical devices, while additional areas of interest include biomaterials, bioinstrumentation and diagnostics. The partners of Domain have been involved in the formation and growth of more than 170 life-sciences companies. For more information, please visit

About Thomas, McNerney & Partners

Thomas, McNerney & Partners, L.L.C. is a health care private equity firm that invests in life science and medical technology companies. The firm's partners have successfully funded companies at all stages of their development, having collectively invested over $500 million in more than 40 entities. With a multi-stage investment approach, Thomas, McNerney & Partners provides seed and early stage funding to help entrepreneurs launch companies, as well as growth capital to emerging companies for furthering clinical development or for expansion of product commercialization. The firm is also involved in spinning-out products and divisions from major medical device and pharmaceutical companies to form new entities and consolidating companies through roll-up strategies. Thomas, McNerney & Partners is targeting investments in the pharmaceutical, medical device, biotechnology and diagnostic sectors as well as other areas utilizing medical technology innovation. For more information, please visit

Source: Ocera Therapeutics

Issuer of this News Release is solely responsible for its content.
Please address inquiries directly to the issuing company.

FindReps - Find Great Medical Independent Sales Reps without recruiter fees.
FindReps - available on the Apple App Store for iPhone and iPad.