News Article

Seattle biotech scores $67.5M to treat migraines and Parkinson's with drugs delivered deep into the nasal cavity
Date: Dec 06, 2018
Author: James Throne
Source: ( click here to go to the source)

Featured firm in this article: Impel Neuropharma Inc of Seattle, WA

Impel's POD technology delivers drugs deep into the nasal cavity for the treatment of central nervous system disorders.

Seattle-based biotech firm Impel NeuroPharma closed its latest round of funding, bringing in $67.5 million to develop treatments for central nervous system disorders, such as migraines and Parkinson's.

This is Impel's largest fundraising round to date, following a $36 million round in December 2016.
Jon Congleton. (Impel NeuroPharma)

Impel is known for its Precision Olfactory Delivery (POD) platform, which sends drugs into the nasal cavity with the goal of penetrating the blood-brain barrier and targeting the organ more directly than is possible with pills or injected drugs.

The company said the money will fund the treatment of symptoms of several disorders:

Acute migraine headaches (INP104 in a Phase 3 trial)
Reversal of OFF episodes in Parkinson's disease (INP103 in a Phase 2 trial)
Acute agitation in Bipolar I and schizophrenia disorders (INP105 in a Phase 1 trial)

In August, the company said that the first patient received its migraine medication as part of a phase 3 study, and that it was hopeful -- depending upon the study findings -- that it would file for a New Drug Application in the second half of 2019.

"We are very pleased with the speed of recruitment to the STOP-301 study and anticipate that this reflects the level of unmet need in the market and enthusiasm for novel treatments," Jon Congleton, Chief Executive Officer of Impel NeuroPharma said at the time. "We believe that INP104 stands to provide a gold-standard migraine therapy in a device that offers rapid and optimized bioavailability."

Migraines affect about 36 million people in the U.S., but only about five million receive prescription medication. Nasal spray therapies are commonly used for migraine sufferers, but the company said that 70 percent of patients are not satisfied with the treatments on the market, many of which cause vomiting or other side effects.

Impel was co-founded by John Hoekman, who first developed the POD system while in graduate school at the University of Washington.

Hoekman served as CEO of Impel until Congleton took over the role in October 2017. Hoekman now serves as chief scientific officer. In November, Impel appointed Ellen Lubman as chief business officer.

KKR and Norwest Venture Partners led the Series D round. As part of the financing deal, Norwest partner Dr. Robert Mittendorff and KKR member Ali Satvat will join Impel's board of directors, the company said. Vivo Capital, 5AM Ventures and venBio Partners -- all prior investors in Impel -- also joined the round.

"Dr. Mittendorff and Mr. Satvat will be tremendous assets as new members of Impel's board of directors and we believe that this investment is a testament to the strength of our POD technology, our clinical programs and our management team," Congleton said in a statement.
Seattle-based journalist James Thorne is an NYU business and economics journalism grad who has written for publications including Reuters, CNBC, and Financial Planning. Follow him on Twitter @jamescthorne.