OCERA THERAPEUTICS, A NEW GASTROINTESTINAL AND LIVER-FOCUSED COMPANY, RAISES
$14.5M IN SERIES A FINANCING
Files IND for Crohn's Disease
Trial with In-Licensed Compound
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - January 17, 2006
Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and
commercialization of clinical candidates for the treatment of
gastrointestinal and liver diseases, announced today the completion of a
$14.5 million Series A financing. The financing was co-led by Domain
Associates and Thomas, McNerney & Partners.
The company also announced that it has successfully in-licensed its lead
clinical candidate AST-120 from Kureha Corporation in Japan and filed an
IND with the FDA. The license gives Ocera Therapeutics the rights to
develop the drug for the treatment of gastrointestinal and liver
diseases in North America and Europe. Series A funds will be used to
initiate clinical trials with the compound, initially in Crohn's
"We are extremely pleased to close the
series A financing to support the development of our first clinical
compound for the treatment of patients with Crohn's disease.
We are also pleased to have filed our first IND for AST-120 for Crohn's
Disease with the Food and Drug Administration," stated Laurent Fischer,
MD, President and CEO of Ocera Therapeutics. "Ocera aims to develop safe
and novel therapeutics for the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases
where there are significant unmet medical needs, particularly for
patients with mild to moderate Crohn's disease who suffer from fistulas.
Our lead compound, AST-120, is an oral drug that already has extensive
Japanese human safety data in more than 200,000 patients and has
demonstrated promising clinical efficacy in patients with mild to
moderate Crohn's disease. We are planning to initiate our first clinical
trial in North America and Europe in the first half of 2006."
"We believe that Ocera is in an excellent
position to develop a unique new oral therapy for Crohn's disease and
other inflammatory bowel disease," added Eckard Weber, MD, Partner at
Domain Associates. "Our lead compound represents an opportunity to
provide a much needed safe and effective alternative to existing therapy
in this patient population."
"Ocera Therapeutics is building upon a
significant body of clinical work conducted by our Japanese partner,
which gives the company a real head start at inception," commented
Pratik Shah, Ph.D., Venture Partner at Thomas, McNerney & Partners.
"This round of financing will help Ocera Therapeutics advance its lead
clinical candidate and we are confident in the focus and expertise of
the management team as they initiate clinical trials."
Gastrointestinal diseases and liver diseases
represent large markets with unmet medical needs. Specifically,
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) affects approximately 1 million people
in the U.S. and 4 million worldwide. One of the two major IBDs is
Crohn's Disease, which affects approximately 500,000 patients and is
expected to have a market size of over $1.7 billion by 2013.
AST-120, Ocera's lead clinical candidate,
consists of orally delivered, nanoporous microspheres which absorb
toxins in the GI tract. The company plans to investigate the drug for
use in Crohn's disease, where it has shown promising efficacy results.
The company also plans to explore the use of its lead candidate for
treatment of other gastrointestinal and liver diseases.
About Ocera Therapeutics, Inc.
Ocera Therapeutics, Inc. is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company
focused on the licensing, development and commercialization of
proprietary clinical candidates to treat a broad range of
gastrointestinal and liver diseases. Ocera Therapeutics was founded in
2005 by Laurent Fischer, MD, Eckard Weber, MD and Domain Associates,
LLC. Ocera has identified late-stage clinical products which have the
ability to address a variety of targeted diseases including irritable
bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and liver failure. Additional
information on the Company can be found at
About Domain Associates
Founded in 1985, Domain Associates, L.L.C. 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 Laguna Niguel, 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 http://www.domainvc.com
About Thomas, McNerney & Partners
Thomas, McNerney & Partners, L.L.C.
is a health care private equity 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 $500 million in more than 40 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. The firm is also involved in
spinning-out products and divisions from major medical device and
pharmaceutical companies to form new entities and consolidating
companies through roll-up strategies. 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