Biotech firm completes Series A funding

14th December 2017

NorthSea Therapeutics, a newly established Dutch biotech company, has announced the completion of a €25m Series A funding for the development of icosabutate, a structurally engineered fatty acid as a novel, oral approach for the treatment of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

The investment syndicate led by Forbion and BGV includes Novo Seeds, the early-stage investment arm of Novo Holdings and New Science Ventures.

Icosabutate has been found safe and effective in two prior phase II clinical studies for treatment of hypertriglyceridemia. This compound and a library of discovery- and pre-clinical-stage SEFAs are in-licensed from Pronova BioPharma Norge, a leader in this space.

NASH stands for inflammation and damage to the liver which is the result of deposition of too much fat in the liver cells. An estimated 15 to 30 million patients in the six major markets will develop NASH in the coming years. This trend is, in part, secondary to the growing incidence of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Further disease progression in NASH patients leads to fibrosis and cirrhosis with high risk for liver failure, hepatocellular cancer and need for liver transplantation.

The €25m financing round is to conduct a phase IIb clinical study in NASH with icosabutate and to develop it to phase III readiness, including clinical and non-clinical toxicology studies and CMC development.

NST is headed up by an experienced team of executives from the dyslipidemia and liver disease space. Rob de Ree and Patrick Round, who were instrumental in the success of Dezima Pharma, are CEO and CMO respectively. Hilde Steineger (COO), David Fraser (CSO), and Tore Skjaeret, (VP Chemistry and CMC), all bring deep experience in the development of SEFAs, including icosabutate.

"At its inception NorthSea Therapeutics has all the ingredients for success in the competitive NASH space. It has a promising and clinically tested compound, a team with experienced drug developers, world-leading experts in the field with a good access to clinical trial sites and backing by a strong syndicate of investors" said CEO Rob de Ree. "We believe icosabutate has the potential to impact the lives of millions of NASH patients globally, for whom there are currently little treatment options available."

The company is also supported by a world-renowned team of clinical and scientific advisors, including Prof. Scott Friedman (Mount Sinai, NYC), Prof. Detlef Schuppan (University of Mainz), and Dr. John Kastelein, Professor of Medicine at the Department of Vascular Medicine at the Academic Medical Center (AMC) in Amsterdam.






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