Healthcare Industry News:  Inflammatory Bowel Disease 

Biopharmaceuticals Venture Capital

 News Release - July 10, 2006

Ocera Therapeutics, Inc. Raises $12 Million Series B Financing

Mike Powell, Ph.D. Joins Ocera Therapeutics' Board of Directors

SAN DIEGO, July 10 (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 that it has raised a $12 million Series B financing. The financing will be used to continue clinical development of the company's first product, AST-120. A pivotal Phase III clinical trial for AST-120 was initiated in the first quarter of 2006 for the treatment of fistulizing Crohn's disease. The Series B round was led by new investor, Sofinnova Ventures. Previous investors, Domain Associates, LLC and Thomas, McNerney & Partners, LLC also participated in this financing.

As a part of the Series B financing, Ocera also announced the addition of Mike Powell, Ph.D., managing director of Sofinnova Ventures, to its Board of Directors. Dr. Powell has been involved in the development of more than 20 clinical products and will contribute the expertise he has gained through his experiences at Genentech and a number of other biotech and pharmaceutical companies. He has served on a number of boards including the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and has served as advisor to numerous organizations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Institute for OneWorld Health.

"Ocera is building a strong product pipeline in the area of major gastrointestinal and liver diseases," said Dr. Powell, managing director at Sofinnova Ventures. "I'm excited to join the Ocera team and have been impressed by the progress the company has made as evidenced by the series of clinical and company milestones achieved since Ocera's launch."

"The strong interest in the round by numerous outside investors validates the progress the company has made since its founding in 2005," added Dr. Fischer, president and CEO of Ocera. "We are delighted to have Sofinnova join in our company-building effort."

Ocera's lead clinical candidate AST-120 consists of orally delivered carbon microspheres which absorb toxins in the gastrointestinal tract. Data from a double-blind, placebo-controlled Japanese study of AST-120, presented by Kureha Corporation at the annual Digestive Disease Week in May 2006, in patients with Crohn's disease demonstrated a significant reduction in the number of draining fistulas in patients receiving AST-120 compared to placebo.

Crohn's disease is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) involving chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. The U.S. population of Crohn's disease patients is estimated at 500,000, and is expected to grow at a rate of three percent annually with up to 40 percent of Crohn's patients suffering from draining fistulas.

About Ocera Therapeutics, Inc.

Ocera Therapeutics, Inc. is a privately-held clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapeutics for gastrointestinal and liver diseases. Ocera was founded in 2005 by Laurent Fischer, M.D., Eckard Weber, M.D. and Domain Associates, LLC and its series A financing was co-led by Domain Associates and Thomas, McNerney & Partners. Ocera in-licensed AST-120 from Kureha Corporation of Tokyo, and is currently evaluating the agent as a first-line treatment for patients with mild to moderate fistulizing Crohn's disease. Other areas of therapeutic focus for AST-120 may include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and liver diseases. For more information, visit

For more information on Ocera Therapeutics' clinical trials with AST-120, please visit:

About Sofinnova Ventures

Sofinnova Ventures is a venture capital firm emphasizing a diversified investment strategy through financing early stage companies in the life science and information technology sectors. Founded in 1974, the San Francisco-based firm currently has $600 million under management. Sofinnova's mission is to create value by providing entrepreneurs with the resources, experience and networks necessary to turn their bright ideas into thriving businesses. With deeply rooted ties to Europe's leading financial, technology and venture institutions, Sofinnova is also uniquely positioned to foster trans-Atlantic synergy and market acceleration. For more information, visit

About Domain Associates

Founded in 1985, Domain Associates, LLC 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 San Diego, 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, LLC is a health care venture capital 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 $600 million in more than 50 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. 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

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