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Avista Capital Partners Commits $48.5 Million to OptiNose AS to Develop an Innovative Nasal Drug Delivery Technology Slated to Begin Phase III Trials


6/8/2010 7:00:58 AM

NEW YORK, June 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Avista Capital Partners ("Avista"), a leading private equity firm, today announced it has committed to invest $48.5 million in OptiNose ("OptiNose" or "the Company"). OptiNose has developed an innovative nasal drug delivery technology that enables administration of drugs deep in the nasal cavity, enabling the treatment of both local and systemic disease. In conjunction with this investment, OptiNose will reincorporate in the U.S. and move its headquarters from Oslo, Norway to Yardley, PA.

OptiNose, which was founded by Dr. Per Djupesland in 2000, has extensively tested its nasal drug delivery device under the leadership of the current CEO, Helena Kyttari Djupesland. The Company recently completed Phase II clinical studies for chronic rhinosinusitis with polyposis, chronic rhinosinusitis without polyposis, and migraine therapies with positive results. Avista's investment will support Phase III trials and enable OptiNose to build out its clinical development and commercialization infrastructure. WFD Ventures, a New York-based venture capital firm specializing in medical technology investing, will also maintain a significant stake in the Company and continue to actively support the development program.

Peter Miller, the President and former Chief Executive Officer of Take Care Health Systems, a business Mr. Miller co-founded and sold to Walgreens, has been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of the Company and will serve on the OptiNose Board of Directors. Prior to joining Take Care Health Systems, Mr. Miller spent over a decade at Johnson & Johnson in senior executive positions.

Larry Pickering, an Avista healthcare industry executive who will become the new Chairman of OptiNose, said, "OptiNose's technology is extremely promising for the indications slated to begin Phase III trials and for a wide variety of other applications. We look forward to supporting the Company as it enters these trials with a low risk development pathway. I have known Peter since his time at Johnson & Johnson, and am convinced he is the ideal executive to lead this Company."

Mr. Miller stated, "I am very excited about the opportunity to lead a company that has core technology with such strong potential, and to work with the talented OptiNose team and a group of investors with such a history of success. OptiNose's devices deliver intranasal drugs in a completely new way to targeted regions of the nasal cavity, including the sinuses and the olfactory region, without lung deposition. I believe this technology provides a broad platform for delivering significant value to patients, physicians, and payers, with potential applications in pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and OTC products."

Ms. Djupesland and Mr. Djupesland said, "We are delighted to welcome Peter Miller and Avista Capital Partners to the OptiNose team. We strongly believe in our technology, which solves many of the common problems associated with current nasal drug delivery techniques. With Peter's leadership and healthcare background, and the support and deep healthcare experience offered by Avista and WFD Ventures, we are confident in our ability to leverage our device's potential with many compounds."

Bill Doyle, Managing Partner of WFD Ventures, stated, "We at WFD continue to be strong supporters of OptiNose and are excited about working with Avista and Peter Miller to assist the Company in executing upon its growth plan."

About OptiNose

OptiNose is a drug delivery company with breakthrough technology set to transform the static nasal drug delivery market. The Company was founded in 2000 to commercialize a novel nasal drug delivery system that achieves targeted delivery to sites that are poorly accessed by existing nasal sprays. The technology is unparalleled in its ability to effectively deliver drugs to specific sites within the nose, while uniquely preventing drug distribution to the lungs. OptiNose's drug delivery performance is achieved via a patented technology that was invented by the Company's Founder and CSO, Dr. Per G Djupesland.

About Avista Capital Partners

Avista Capital Partners is a leading private equity firm with offices in New York, NY and Houston, TX. Founded in 2005, Avista's strategy is to make controlling or influential minority investments primarily in growth-oriented healthcare, energy, and media companies. Through its team of seasoned investment professionals and industry experts, Avista seeks to partner with exceptional management teams to invest in and add value to well-positioned businesses. For more information, visit www.avistacap.com.

About WFD Ventures

WFD Ventures is a New York based venture capital firm investing in medical device companies with exceptional potentials. In addition to capital, WFD provides product development, regulatory and commercialization guidance to its portfolio companies. For more information, visit www.wfdventures.com.

Contact

For Avista: Diana Postemsky, Kekst and Company, 212-521-4805

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