Intercept Pharma snags $30M round amid PhIII for liver-disease drug

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Intercept Pharmaceuticals has wrapped up a $30 million Series C round as the drug developer conducts a pivotal trial of its lead drug for treating patients with a rare liver disease. OrbiMed Advisors chipped in with the lead investment for the third-round financing and gained two seats on the developer's board of directors, the company said late Thursday.
New York-based Intercept plans to use a portion of the funding to fuel its Phase III "POISE" study in which its oral obeticholic acid (OCA) drug is under investigation as a second-line therapy for primary biliary cirrhosis, a rare condition that afflicts mostly women and can lead to liver failure. The trial tests the compound--a bile acid analog and novel farnesoid X receptor (FXR) agonist--in patients who don't respond to ursodiol, the only approved drug for the uncommon liver ailment. Company CEO Dr. Mark Pruzanski noted that the funding aids research of the drug in other diseases as well.
OrbiMed joined Intercept's majority investor Genextra in the C round, and OrbiMed's Jonathan Silverstein and Dr. Klaus Veitinger have taken seats on the developer's board of directors. "We are particularly interested in products focused on orphan indications," Silverstein said in a statement, "and believe that OCA has great potential as a novel therapy for [primary biliary cirrhosis] and other indications."
Intercept has licensed its lead drug to Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma in $315 million deal for markets in China and Japan, and last year the developer nailed down a $163 million pact with French drug powerhouse Servier to discover and develop drugs based on Intercept's bile acid chemistry to treat Type 2 diabetes and other metabolic diseases.
- here's the financing release

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