Seattle, WA, September 7, 2006 – Omeros Corporation, a Seattle-based biopharmaceutical company, announced today that it has acquired Nura, Inc., a company developing treatments for pain and other central nervous system disorders including schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease. As part of the transaction, the premier venture firms of ARCH Venture Partners, Aravis Venture and Novartis Venture Funds made a substantial investment in Omeros. The acquisition expands and enhances the research capabilities and development of current and future products for Omeros, which is advancing a pipeline of pharmaceuticals and delivery systems for use in orthopedics, rheumatology, urology, cardiovascular medicine, general surgery and pain management.
“We are very pleased with this transaction,” said Gregory Demopulos, M.D., Chairman and CEO of Omeros. “We acquired Nura for its scientists and its technologies, adding a world-class discovery-research engine to our later-stage programs and greater depth to our pipeline. Omeros’ focus has spanned both the peripheral and central nervous systems, and the Nura programs are an exciting and solid fit. In addition, ARCH, Aravis, Novartis and Vulcan Capital further strengthen our shareholder base.” Dr. Demopulos also noted that Jean-Philippe Tripet, Managing Partner of Aravis Venture, will join Omeros’ Board of Directors.
Co-founded in 2003 by Linda Buck, Ph.D., George Gaitanaris, M.D., Ph.D., and Patrick Gray, Ph.D., Nura was a privately held company established for the purpose of discovering and developing pharmaceuticals for neurodegenerative and behavioral disorders. Dr. Buck is the 2004 Nobel Laureate in Medicine and is internationally known for groundbreaking research resulting in the discovery of receptors responsible for the sense of smell. Dr. Gaitanaris, inventor of Nura's platform technology, was one of the first to develop gene “knock-out” methodologies and characterized the family of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), which comprise the largest family of genes and are targeted by almost half of all pharmaceuticals currently on the market. Dr. Gray's accomplishments include the first cloning of Hepatitis B surface antigen, multiple Interferon genes and several other immunological factors. Dr. Gaitanaris has become Omeros’ Vice President, Science. Dr. Buck will also remain actively involved in Omeros and its research programs.
“This acquisition benefits both companies,” said Patrick Gray, Ph.D., President and CEO of Nura. “Nura’s validated technologies address multi-billion dollar markets, and Omeros’ resources will accelerate their development and commercialization.”
“We have known Greg for a long time and are impressed by Omeros’ progress,” said Robert Nelsen, Co-founder and Managing Director of Arch Venture Partners. “Under Greg’s leadership, Omeros has the resources and the breadth of expertise to advance multiple programs from the Nura platform, which is now beginning to show promise. The acquisition adds to Omeros’ critical mass.”
Omeros Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company advancing a pipeline of product candidates for use in orthopedics, rheumatology, urology, cardiovascular medicine, general surgery and pain management. Omeros' patented product candidates are based on a systems biology approach:
There is no single pathway or mediator responsible for inflammation, pain or any other problem resulting from disease or the trauma of surgery. Problems like inflammation and pain are the result of integrated and interacting networks of pathways and mechanisms.
Our product candidates are designed to act on multiple molecular targets at the site of delivery to improve therapeutic benefit while minimizing the risk of side effects. Omeros is located at 1420 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2600, Seattle, WA 98101, Phone: 206.676.5000, Fax: 206.264.7856, www.omeros.com.
Aravis Venture Associates is an investment organization providing venture capital to highly promising seed and early-stage projects in biotechnology. Aravis provides its companies a unique international network that combines decades of experience in science, operations and venture financing. www.aravis.ch.
ARCH Venture Partners is a premier provider of seed and early-stage venture capital for technology firms, with a special expertise in co-founding and building technology firms from start-up. ARCH invests primarily in companies co-founded with leading scientists and entrepreneurs, concentrating on bringing to market innovations in information technology, life sciences, and physical sciences. We enjoy special recognition as a leader in the successful commercialization of technologies developed at academic research institutions and national laboratories. ARCH currently manages six funds totaling over $1 billion and has invested in the earliest venture capital rounds for more than 110 companies. www.archventure.com.
The Novartis Venture Fund is based on the conviction that economic growth and the creation of new jobs can be achieved in the long run only if new entrepreneurial initiatives develop and promising ideas become business reality. With venture capital of CHF 150 million and USD 100 million, the Fund supports new business projects that show exemplary entrepreneurial and innovative spirit in future-oriented areas, especially in the field of Health Sciences. For information on the portfolio of 75 life science companies, see www.venturefund.novartis.com where most of the companies have a brief profile.
Vulcan Capital is the private investment group of Vulcan Inc., the organization founded by Paul G. Allen in 1986 to manage his personal and professional endeavors. Vulcan Capital oversees a multibillion-dollar portfolio across diverse industry sectors and investment asset classes. Its investments range from early stage venture investments to public equity value investing, leveraged buyouts, acquisitions, and distressed situations. Vulcan Capital's mission is to produce superior returns over the long term across a diversified investment portfolio. Learn more about Vulcan at www.vulcan.com.