Omthera, a State Road-based specialty pharmaceutical company focused on new therapies for abnormalities in blood lipids, has held an initial public offering of 8 million shares of common stock. On April 11 it opened at $8 per share. On April 23 the stock (OMTH) was trading at around $6.22.
The company’s sole product candidate is Epanova, described in a press release as a “late-stage, novel, omega-3 free fatty acid composition that reduces triglycerides, improves other key lipid parameters, and is expected to increase patient convenience with 2-gram once-a-day dosing with or without meals.”
Omthera’s CEO, Jerry Wisler, formerly served in executive positions at Novartis and Merck, where he was responsible for the atherosclerosis franchise and Zocor, which grew from $1.8 billion in sales in 1997 to $5.3 billion in 2002.
According to the press materials, the company has completed pharmacokinetic and Phase III clinical studies to investigate the safety and efficacy profile of Epanova. In 2012 the company reported positive results from its Phase III EVOLVE and ESPRIT trials, both of which were conducted under SPA agreements with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Omthera holds worldwide rights to Epanova under a license from Chrysalis Pharma AG, a Swiss company.
In an interview with a trade magazine Wisler contended that Epanova has shown better bio-availability than GlaxoSmithKline’s Lovaza, and the company has presented data showing comparable effects of its 2-g dose compared to the 4-g dose of GSK’s drug.
“The next question is who is going to be the market leader. We think that we have the best profile because we positively affect all the key lipid parameters, we lower triglycerides, we lower non-HDL cholesterol, we raise HDL. But we do it with a lower and more convenient dose.”
A request for an interview was not immediately returned.
Omthera Pharmaceuticals Inc. (OMTH), 707 State Road, Suite 200, Princeton 08540; 908-741-4399; www.omthera.com.