Healthcare Industry News: Esperion
News Release - June 13, 2006
Aegerion Pharmaceuticals Completes $22.5 Million Series A RoundFinancing Will Fund Additional Development Efforts in Dyslipidemia
BRIDGEWATER, N.J.--(HSMN NewsFeed)--June 13, 2006--Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty pharmaceuticals company formed to focus on the development of compounds to treat cardiovascular and metabolic disease, today announced the closing of its $22.5 million Series A financing. Led by Advent International, the financing included participation by Index Ventures, Alta Partners, and MVM Life Science Partners. The capital is supporting further development of its lead compounds that have been shown to significantly reduce LDL cholesterol.
"Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one killer of Americans, and more than 71 million people in the United States suffer from one or more forms of CVD. There remains a significant unmet clinical need in dyslipidemia, in particular for compounds that further reduce LDL, or 'bad' cholesterol," stated Antonio M. Gotto, Jr, M.D., D.Phil., Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College, who is a renowned expert in dyslipidemia, and a member of the Board of Directors of Aegerion.
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) provides guidelines for the management of dyslipidemia in the U.S. Based upon clinical trial results released since these guidelines were published in 2001, updated recommendations were issued in 2004 introducing a new therapeutic option of a less than 70 mg/dL LDL cholesterol goal for patients with a very high risk for CVD, including those patients with established coronary heart disease. Other recent studies have demonstrated that statin monotherapy, even at high doses, may be unable to achieve these more aggressive goals in a significant proportion of patients, a finding that will likely lead to greater use of combination therapy for these patients. While Aegerion will study monotherapy and combination therapy in its recently initiated Phase 2 trials, the predominant focus will be on combination use of a novel class of lipid lowering drugs.
"I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to lead a company with the potential to deliver significant beneficial impact in a therapeutic area in which I not only have many years of operational experience, but also a passion to improve upon existing treatment," said Jerry Wisler, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aegerion. "The interest and support we have received from top tier investors in an oversubscribed Series A round speak to the promise we all believe this extremely large market holds."
Mr. Wisler is a 23 year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry, serving as an executive at Merck and Co., Inc. and later at Novartis. During his 20 year career at Merck, he served in a number of key commercial operations roles, including as the Vice President of the Atherosclerosis franchise, with responsibility for ZocorŪ.
"The successful completion of this Series A enables the company to advance its development programs and actively pursue other complementary therapies," said David Scheer, President of Scheer & Company, who serves as Chairman of the Board of Aegerion. Mr. Scheer was a principal co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Esperion Therapeutics, Inc., a company focused on HDL therapies and now a division of Pfizer, Inc. (NYSE:PFE ).
Mr. Scheer added, "I am very enthusiastic to have Jerry Wisler leading this effort. We have recruited a world-class senior management team, including Dr. William Sasiela, Aegerion's Chief Medical Officer, who was formerly the Worldwide Team Leader for the LipitorŪ and, later, the Torcetrapib/Atorvastatin medical programs while he was with Pfizer, and Will Lewis, who has an extensive investment banking and principal investing experience and serves as Chief Financial Officer."
Joining Mr. Scheer, Mr. Wisler, and Dr. Gotto on the Aegerion Pharmaceuticals Board of Directors are: Dr. Jason Fisherman, Managing Director at Advent International in Boston, Kevin Johnson, CEO of PanGenetics who is representing Index Ventures in Geneva, Switzerland, and Alison de Bord of Alta Partners in San Francisco.
About Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a privately held specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of promising pharmaceuticals to treat cardiovascular and metabolic disease. The Company's initial focus will be on hyperlipidemia. Its most advanced products have demonstrated significant LDL lowering activity in human trials and are currently in Phase II testing. Aegerion is also in active discussions regarding in-licensing opportunities in the cardiovascular or metabolic therapeutic areas.
About Advent International:
Advent International, one of the world's largest private equity firms with $10 billion in cumulative capital raised, has invested in the healthcare sector for 20 years. The firm's dedicated life sciences venture team, with complementary experience across drug development, operations and venture capital, manages an independent fund focused on biotechnology and emerging pharmaceutical investment opportunities.
About Index Ventures:
Index Ventures is a leading pan-European venture capital firm active in investing since 1996. The firm is dedicated to helping top entrepreneurial teams both in the Life Sciences and Information Technology sectors build their companies into market defining global leaders. The firm has offices in Geneva, London and Jersey and focuses its investment activity primarily on Europe and Israel. Life science investments include PanGenetics, Genmab, Addex Pharmaceuticals, BioXell, Parallele Biosciences, and 7TM.
About Alta Partners:
Alta Partners is a San Francisco-based venture capital firm focused on life sciences investing. Founded in 1996, the firm currently manages $1.5 billion in committed capital through seven venture fund programs. Alta invests in biopharmaceutical and medical technology companies across the development continuum, from company formation to later-stage opportunities, and has funded more than 110 life sciences companies to date.
About MVM Life Science Partners:
MVM Life Science Partners is a venture capital company founded in 1997 and dedicated to investing in start up and earlier stage life science companies. MVM creates, finances and builds life science companies that develop world-class technology with a clear focus on products for major markets. MVM is an active, involved investor providing its portfolio management teams with advice and assistance to support their growth and development, from identifying commercially relevant opportunities and recruiting high caliber staff to fund raising and partnering.
About Scheer & Company, Inc.
Scheer & Company, Inc. is a life sciences advisory firm, founded in 1981, which has been active in the origination and building of a series of companies in the life sciences. Its portfolio has included companies developing products and technologies in a broad range of therapeutic areas including anti-infectives, antivirals, oral pharmaceuticals, cardiology, oncology, regenerative medicine, and medical devices. These companies include Viropharma, Orapharma (now a unit of Johnson and Johnson), Esperion Therapeutics, (now a unit of Pfizer, Inc.), Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Sopherion Therapeutics, Tengion, and Respimetrix.
Source: Aegerion Pharmaceuticals
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