Intarcia, an Emeryville biopharma company developing treatments for hepatitis C and type 2 diabetes, said it has raised $50 million in round of financing to restart the company.
New Leaf Venture Partners led the round, which included Quilvest Ventures, and existing investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Venrock Associates, Alta Partners, Omega Fund and Granite Global Ventures.
The company has had a rocky past, underscoring the risks and expense of developing drugs. It withdrew a planned initial public offering in September 2005, and its lead drug candidate, an aromatase inhibitor for breast cancer, failed in a third phase of clinical trials, as reported by VentureWire (sub required). The new effort, helped by this latest financing, focuses on two other drug possibilities. The company has now raised about $145 million.
Intarcia is developing its Omega DUROS product, which delivers omega interferon using the DUROS system, to improve the treatment of hepatitis C by offering a more convenient and potentially safer and more efficacious therapy. The potent antiviral effects of omega interferon have been well established in earlier clinical trials using the injection form of omega interferon. In December 2006, Intarcia successfully completed a phase 2 study of omega interferon injection in combination with ribavirin in patients with hepatitis C genotype-1. The final results of this study will be presented on April 12, 2007 at the 42nd Annual Conference of the European Association for the Study of the Liver in Barcelona, Spain. The Company plans to commence enrollment of a clinical phase 1b dose-ranging study of Omega DUROS therapy for chronic hepatitis C in the second quarter of 2007.
Intarcia licensed exclusive rights for a broad scope of use to the DUROS implantable delivery technology from ALZA Corporation in August 2006. The license has enabled the initiation of a type 2 diabetes therapy development program, and will yield additional development opportunities in the areas of endocrinology and metabolic disorders, multiple sclerosis, and other chronic diseases. The type 2 diabetes program involves the delivery of GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) on a continuous basis through the use of the DUROS delivery technology. Intarcia is also evaluating exendin-4, a GLP-1 analog, for the same indication.
In addition to expanding its proprietary development programs, the DUROS technology will allow Intarcia to explore partnering opportunities with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in disease areas where poor patient tolerance to therapy and inconvenient treatment regimens often prevent effective clinical outcomes.