Ebb & Flow

When Amicus pulled its proposed IPO in July, the genetic disease company was hardly hurting for cash, as it had about $40 million in the bank. Nevertheless, Amicus was clearly ready to listen when existing investor New Enterprise Associates suggested a giant private round.

The result was last week's $60 million series D round, in which NEA put in half the money. Indeed, only one new investor - Och-Ziff Capital Management - joined existing investors Canaan Partners; CHL Medical Partners; Frazier Healthcare Ventures; Palo Alto Investors; Prospect Venture Partners; Quaker BioVentures; and Radius.

"There were a number of calls and interest from hedge funds, public market funds and private equity funds," President and CEO John Crowley told Ebb & Flow. "But we also could have filled the entire round with our inside investors. We decided to let in one new investor and wanted someone with significant experience in the public and private space."

Crowley declined to disclose the company's valuation, but did say that the series D was at a "significant step-up to the post-money on our previous deal." Last year, the company raised $55 million in a series C financing that valued Amicus at $125 million.

Amicus is focused on small molecule chaperones that bind to proteins that are misfolded because of a mutation. The lead compound, Amigal, is in Phase II testing to treat Fabry's disease. Phase III trials are expected to start next year.

Behind that, AT2101 is in Phase I testing for Gaucher's disease, while the company plans to file an IND this year for AT2220 to treat Pompe's disease.

Although Amicus didn't immediately need the cash infusion, Crowley noted the funds will allow the company to expand its research.

"We're doing lots of R&D to understand the role of chaperones outside of genetic diseases," he said. "We've started to build programs in neurology, oncology and metabolic disorders. Now, we have the funds to build therapeutic franchises using our technology in these areas."

The $100 million in cash should take the company into 2009. "Now we can design our own IPO window," Crowley said.


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