Forbion leads €25 million Series A fundraising in NorthSea Therapeutics and its promising NASH drug programme

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Forbion Capital Partners (“Forbion”), one of the leading European life sciences venture capital firms investing in world-class healthcare technologies, today announced that NorthSea Therapeutics B.V. (‘NST’), a newly established Dutch biotech company, has completed a €25m Series A fundraising for the development of icosabutate, a structurally engineered fatty acid (‘SEFA’) as a novel, oral approach for the treatment of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (‘NASH’).

The investment syndicate was led by Forbion and BGV, and includes Novo Seeds, the early-stage investment arm of Novo Holdings A/S 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 AS, a leader in this space.

NASH is the result of the 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.