NEW HAVEN, Conn., Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Sopherion Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focusing on the development and commercialization of anti-cancer therapies, today announced the completion of a $47 million Series B venture funding. The financing was led by TL Ventures and included the Sprout Group, ProQuest, Canaan Partners, HealthCap, NewSpring Ventures, L.P., Commerce Health Ventures, and Seaflower Ventures.
In connection with this financing, Sopherion also announced that it has entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with Zeneus Pharma Ltd. for the future commercialization of Myocet(R) in North America. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Myocet has been approved by the European and Canadian regulatory agencies for first line therapy in combination with cyclophosphamide for patients with metastatic breast cancer. Under the terms of the agreement, Sopherion intends to launch Myocet in Canada no later than the second quarter of 2005. In the United States, Sopherion will manage the regulatory process, and pending FDA approval, be responsible for the marketing and sales of this therapy. To date, several large clinical trials of Myocet have been completed in the United States and Europe. Currently, the Company intends to conduct additional clinical studies prior to filing a New Drug Application.
Myocet is a liposome-encapsulated doxorubicin-citrate complex. By encapsulating doxorubicin in a liposome (liposomes are manufactured, microscopic, closed, vesicles consisting of discreet aqueous compartments surrounded by membranes composed of naturally occurring fats), its distribution in the body is altered in such a way as to reduce doxorubicin's toxicity. Extensive clinical studies of Myocet in women with breast cancer have shown that the severe toxicity of doxorubicin to the heart and the cells that line the gastrointestinal tract can be significantly moderated while the efficacy of the drug is maintained.
Zeneus Pharma currently markets Myocet in the United Kingdom, Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The drug therapy was originally discovered and developed by the Liposome Company.
In addition to the Myocet initiatives, the proceeds of the Series B will be used to validate a widely applicable lead discovery platform and to fortify Sopherion's infrastructure.
"This event marks a significant time in Sopherion's evolution. We are developing from a research-oriented company into a fully integrated oncology company with commercial, clinical and regulatory capabilities. We are now ramping up to launch Myocet in Canada and finalizing our US regulatory strategy," stated Ronald H. Goldfarb, Ph.D., President and CEO of Sopherion Therapeutics. "I am also very pleased that we have attracted an outstanding investment syndicate. In addition, TL Ventures, our lead investor, played an integral role in the licensing agreement."
"Having worked on the development of this therapy at The Liposome Company, I understand its significant potential impact on patients not only suffering from metastatic breast cancer, but also a wide variety of other neoplasms," stated Marc Ostro, Ph.D., Managing Director at TL Ventures. Dr. Ostro was previously the co-founder, President, Vice Chairman, and Chief Science Officer of The Liposome Company. "I am delighted that Sopherion now has the opportunity to usher Myocet forward in North America."
"We selected Sopherion as our partner based on the Company's FDA registration strategy, their significant experience in oncology, the vision of their management team, and their strong launch and market strategy," stated Bryan Morton, Chief Executive Officer at Zeneus Pharma.
About Sopherion Therapeutics
Sopherion Therapeutics, Inc. is a privately-held biotechnology company based in New Haven, Connecticut. The Company is focused on developing novel anti-cancer therapies for patients suffering with advanced cancer, including metastatic disease. Sopherion is dedicated to the acquisition, discovery, development, and commercialization of novel anti-cancer therapies with unique therapeutic activities that address unmet medical needs in the oncology arena and that extend and enhance human life. For more information, visit http://www.sopherion.com/.
About Zeneus Pharma
Zeneus Pharma is a global specialty pharmaceutical company with substantial clinical, regulatory, sales and marketing operations in Europe with worldwide sales through partner agreements. Zeneus Pharma has a broad portfolio of specialist marketed products currently focused on therapeutic areas including cancer, critical care and niche cardiovascular disease. The current portfolio has sales in excess of $ 80 million. For more information, visit http://www.zeneuspharma.co.uk/.
Sopherion Therapeutics, Inc.