OptiNose ASA took a nontraditional approach to financing a slate of late-stage trials of its intranasal drug delivery technology. Rather than put together a new syndicate of venture groups to chip in on a new round, OptiNose ended up turning to Avista Capital Partners, a buyout firm that came up with $48.5 million. And with the fresh financing in hand, OptiNose is moving from Norway to Yardley, PA.
"We characterize this as growth equity; it may be a little early for private equity," Avista's Larry Pickering tells the Wall Street Journal. "This is a very compelling device technology and it is one of the most compelling delivery technologies I've ever seen."
OptiNose, which is run by J&J veteran Peter Miller, has successfully completed several Phase II studies of its technology, which is designed to deliver drugs and vaccines to "targeted regions of the nasal cavity, including the sinuses and the olfactory region, without lung deposition." And a combination of promising Phase II results with its reliance on existing therapeutics helped build confidence in the delivery company.
"They have a much lower risk compared to most Phase III companies I've seen," says William Doyle, a managing director of WFD, one of OptiNose's venture backers.