BioWorld International Correspondent

7TM Pharma A/S raised €19 million (US$22.9 million) in a Series C financing round to fund clinical development of its two lead anti-obesity compounds, TM30338 and TM30339, and to continue its research programs in other areas, including therapeutic angiogenesis and inflammation.

LD Pensions, of Copenhagen, Denmark, led the financing round, while Edinburgh, UK-based Scottish Widows Investment Partnership also joined as a new investor.

Hørsholm, Denmark-based 7TM Pharma has raised €55 million since its founding in 2000, CEO Mette Kirstine Agger told BioWorld International.

"From a 7TM Pharma point of view, the market was really positive toward our story," she said. She attributed that to the company hitting its milestones, entering several partnerships and demonstrating preliminary evidence of efficacy with its lead compound, TM30338, which recently completed a Phase I/II trial. The company now is funded "until well into 2008," Agger said.

7TM Pharma has taken a structure-based discovery approach to finding new drugs that acts on seven transmembrane (7TM) receptors, the family of signal transduction proteins, which includes G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Its technology platform is based on the work of scientific founders Thue Schwartz and Christian Elling, both leaders in the characterization of interactions between seven transmembrane receptors, drugs and endogenous ligands.

Its lead compound is a peptide that mimics the action of two gastrointestinal hormones involved in controlling appetite, PYY and pancreatic polypeptide. Those mediate their effects via the 7TM receptors Y2 and Y4, respectively, although the precise mechanism is not understood, Agger said.

The company recently reported that TM30338 is safe and well tolerated in man, and that a single daily dose injected subcutaneously reduced food intake in healthy, but obese, volunteers at a statistically significant level for up to nine hours. The company plans to initiate a more substantial Phase IIa trial before the year's end. The company has not decided on whether that will be in the U.S. or in Europe. "That's open. It could be both," Agger said. It also aims to move TM30339, a selective receptor Y4 agonist, into the clinic in the same time frame.

7TM has partnerships with several firms. It is working with Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals Inc., a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co., on the discovery of novel compounds with potential for vascular indications. With Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc., a subsidiary of New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson, it is co-developing oral compounds for allergy and asthma. It has two separate agreements with Copenhagen-based H. Lundbeck A/S in central nervous system disease.