Tim Nelson is no stranger to drug/device combinations, having previously worked in this area for Medtronic (Minneapolis).
And what he terms his “commitment“ to the possibilities for these combinations paid off this week with a new Series C round of financing for MAP Pharmaceuticals (Mountain View, California), which he heads as CEO.
MAP reported closing on a $25.25 million Series C preferred stock financing, with several biotech investors adding to the company's seed round of $1.5 million and then a $30 million B round.
MAP's primary platforms is its Tempo Inhaler, along with use of standard nebulizers where appropriate, that it then combines for improved delivery of drugs. And Nelson said that the C round “will enable us to advance the clinical development of MAP's two lead drug products for pediatric asthma and migraine into Phase II clinical trials.“
The Tempo device was developed by Sheffield Pharmaceutical, and when Sheffield in 2004 “went into bankruptcy, we bought some of those assets,“ Nelson told Medical Device Daily.
Differentiating it from the standard “push-and-spray“ types of asthma inhalers that need in-breath coordination, the company says that Tempo features a synchronized trigger and flow control chamber designed to ensure efficient and consistent delivery to the lungs, reducing dose-to-dose variation.
“What Tempo does is that you breathe through it normally and the system measures the right points in the breath,“ Nelson told MDD. It then “releases into a chamber – called a vortexing chamber – so that [the drug] mixes with the breath, rather than spraying. It also allows the propellant to get the particles down to the right size.“
The company says that because of its ease of use and the greater efficiency, the Tempo encourages compliance and ensures that the appropriate effect is reached with reduced dosing.
MAP is advancing a product portfolio of late-stage clinical compounds which includes: unit dose budesonide, a nanocrystalline form of budesonide with potential to offer pediatric and adult asthma patients shorter nebulization sessions, reduced steroid dosing and more rapid and effective administration; and Tempo DHE, an inhaled migraine product.
Additional Tempo-based products include those for delivery of insulin, as well as combination steroid/ -agonist therapies for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Nelson said that it will emphasize new partnering relationships to build a portfolio of “proven drugs“ that the FDA is familiar with, combining these with the Tempo system. He said that as MAP heads into Phase III trials, regulatory stages and commercialization – which he termed “a few years out“ – the company will need additional funding.
The C-round financing was led by Brookside Capital, an affiliate of Bain Capital. All of MAP's previous investors, including the Perseus-Soros Biopharmaceutical Fund; Pequot Ventures, the private equity arm of Pequot Capital Management; Bay City Capital; and Skyline Ventures were “significant“ investors in the round, it said. Alexandria Real Estate Equities also participated.
With closing of this financing, Matt McPherron of Brookside Capital will join MAP's board.
In other financing activity
• Arrowhead Research (Pasadena, California), a diversified nanotechnology company, reported that it has received $19.6 million and closed its previously disclosed private placement.
In the offering, institutional investors received 5.59 million shares of restricted common stock and 1,397,500 warrants to purchase common stock.
Arrowhead is a diversified nanotechnology company structured to commercialize products in a variety of industries, including materials, electronics, life sciences and energy.
• NeoGenomics (Fort Meyers, Florida) reported that it had reached agreements for up to $600,000 of new equity financing for the company as well as planned amendments to its credit facility.
As part of these agreements, a new investor to the company has purchased 2 million restricted shares of the company's common stock at a purchase price of 20 cents a share, which has resulted in $400,000 of new equity capital coming into the company.
This investor also was granted a warrant to purchase 900,000 shares of common stock at an exercise price of 26 cents a share.
As part of the equity agreements and planned credit facility amendment, the company also granted the right to purchase an additional $200,000 of equity under the same terms by April 30 to Aspen Select Healthcare, its largest shareholder and creditor, provided that if Aspen elects not to exercise such rights, then the company may make such shares available for purchase to the new investor.
Under the terms of the planned credit facility amendment, the company and Aspen have agreed to extend the maturity date until Sept. 30, 2007, and increase the availability of such credit facility by up to $200,000 in certain circumstances.
In addition to other items, the planned amendment will provide the company with the ability to access up to $500,000 in secured vendor financing and/or lease arrangements.
NeoGenomics is a clinical laboratory that offers genetic and molecular cancer diagnostic testing services.
• NitroMed (Lexington, Massachusetts) reported that it has entered into agreements to sell about 6.1 million shares of its common stock to selected institutional investors at a price of $10.25 per share.
The shares are being offered under NitroMed's effective shelf registration statement previously filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company said proceeds to it from this registered direct offering, net of offering expenses and placement agency fees, total about $58.6 million.
The net proceeds of the financing will be used for general corporate purposes, including the continued commercial launch of NitroMed's first marketed product, BiDil (isosorbide dinitrate/hydralazine hydrochloride), an orally administered medicine available in the U.S. for the treatment of heart failure in self-identified black patients. .
JP Morgan Securities and Thomas Weisel Partners were placement agents in the offering.