Healthcare Industry News: Ortho-McNeil
News Release - April 19, 2007
Metabolex Raises $32 Million to Accelerate Clinical Development Programs for Its Pipeline of Drug Candidates in Metabolic DiseaseSeries D Financing Round Led By MPM BioEquities
HAYWARD, Calif., April 19 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Metabolex, Inc., a biotechnology company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel therapeutics for diabetes and related metabolic disorders, announced today that it has raised $32 million in a Series D financing led by MPM BioEquities. New investors AllianceBernstein, Deerfield Management and T. Rowe Price also participated in the round, joined by existing investors Alta Partners, Bay City Capital, Biotech Turnaround Fund, Birchmere Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, KBC Funds, Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch, Pictet Funds (LUX) -- Biotech, Merlin BioMed Group, Novo Ventures, VantagePoint Venture Partners, Venrock Partners and Versant Ventures.
The company plans to use the additional funds to accelerate the clinical testing of MBX-8025 and the development of several promising preclinical programs. MBX-8025 may represent a novel approach to treating dyslipidemia; a Phase 1 study demonstrated MBX-8025 could reduce lipid parameters, such as low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad" cholesterol) and triglycerides. The company's lead insulin sensitizer, MBX-102, is now in a 400-patient Phase 2/3 study in patients with type 2 diabetes who use insulin. Metabolex entered into a strategic alliance with Ortho-McNeil, Inc. in 2006, giving Ortho-McNeil an exclusive license for worldwide development and commercialization of MBX-102 and MBX-2044, a follow-on insulin sensitizer. Metabolex is conducting the Phase 2/3 trial of MBX-102 and a Phase 2a trial of MBX-2044.
"Metabolex has a deep pipeline of drug candidates that have already entered the clinic and address metabolic disorders," said Kurt von Emster, CFA, Portfolio Manager for the MPM BioEquities Fund. "Given the significant stresses the diabetes epidemic will place on the health care system, Metabolex's multi-prong approach addresses both the need to prevent the onset of diabetes and to treat the associated conditions. We believe this approach may create extraordinary value, and we look forward to working with management to realize the potential of these innovative drugs."
"MPM has a history of investment in strong, innovative biotechnology companies, and their participation validates our strategy and research platform," said President and Chief Executive Officer Harold Van Wart, Ph.D. "I am also delighted that high-profile investors such as Deerfield, T. Rowe Price and AllianceBernstein are participating in this round."
Both MBX-102 and MBX-2044 may lower blood glucose by improving insulin resistance, an underlying cause of type 2 diabetes. Metabolex's compounds activate genes that are linked to insulin sensitization without modulating genes associated with weight gain and edema, as is seen in currently marketed insulin sensitizers from the thiazolidinedione (TZD) class. Clinical research to date suggests the difference in gene expression may offer the efficacy advantages of TZDs with an improved safety profile.
In addition, preclinical work has shown that MBX-102 may have potent anti- inflammatory activity. Inflammation has been linked to the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, suggesting an additional mechanism by which Metabolex's drugs may control the disease process in diabetes.
Metabolex is a privately held biotechnology company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel therapeutics to transform the treatment of diabetes and related metabolic disorders. Metabolex has drawn on its deep understanding of diabetes to create the largest database of genes involved in diabetes and to build a rich pipeline of product candidates and drug discovery targets. The company has three clinical-stage compounds: MBX-102, in Phase 2/3 testing; MBX-2044, in Phase 2a; and MBX-8025, being studied in dyslipidemia, which has completed Phase 1 studies. Ortho-McNeil, Inc. has the exclusive right to develop and commercialize MBX-102 and MBX-2044.
For additional information about Metabolex and its development pipeline, visit http://www.metabolex.com.
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