Collegium Collects $20 Million in Venture Round, Led by Frazier

Collegium Pharmaceutical just got some capital that may make it more difficult for people to abuse narcotic pain medicines. The specialty drugmaker based in Cumberland, RI, said today it raised $20 million in a fourth-round venture financing. Seattle-based Frazier Healthcare Ventures led the investment, which included previous investors Boston Millennia Partners and Westfield Capital Management. Patrick Heron, a general partner with Frazier, will join the company’s board in connection with the investment.

The company plans to use to move forward with its lead drug candidate, called COL-003, a form of the pain reliever oxycodone (the active ingredient in OxyContin, Percodan, and other often-abused drugs) that is harder to tamper with and more difficult to abuse. Collegium plans to submit an application to the FDA to market the product in the second half of 2009, says Steven Tannenbaum, the company’s chief financial officer. Results from a study in May, presented at the American Pain Society’s meeting, showed that crushing or chewing up the capsule before swallowing it—a common tactic drug abusers use to get high—didn’t boost the amount of active ingredient reaching the bloodstream.

Some of the cash will also be used to develop and market foam formulations of drugs for skin disorders, that are sold through the Collegium’s subsidiary, Onset Therapeutics. The company lists 10 specific drugs in its pipeline for neurology uses and respiratory diseases on its website, plus programs in skin disorders.

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