With a phase III study of its lead drug now under way, Omthera Pharmaceuticals has raised $33.9 million in its second round of venture cash. New Enterprise Associates led the round, with former MedImmune chief David Mott now slated to join the biotech's board. Sofinnova Partners, which had set up the Series A, also participated in the new round.
Much of the money will be used to complete trials for Epanova, an Omega-3 drug being positioned as a superior choice to Lovaza. At the beginning of the year, Bedminster, N.J.-based Omthera touted data demonstrating its therapy had greater bioavailability than Lovaza.
"There is a distinct market need for a more effective and convenient prescription-strength Omega-3 treatment option for patients suffering from very high triglycerides who need to maintain a low-fat diet," said Mott. "Data generated to date [indicate] that Epanova has solid promise in this area, with the potential to deliver improved and more predictable bioavailability than currently available ethyl ester based formulations of Omega-3s. Epanova has the potential to capture significant market share and eclipse currently available therapies to become the drug of choice."