Investors Inject $51M B Round into Zogenix to Combat Migraines

Xconomy San Diego — 

San Diego-based Zogenix has closed a $51 million equity financing to fund the planned January 2010 launch of its needle-free system for delivering a drug for serious headaches, according to the company. The commercialization dollars from the Series B round of preferred stock will fill a funding void the firm faced when it cancelled its $86.3 million initial public offering in August 2008.

The company has collected $36 million of the $51 million round, and its board of directors can opt to secure the remaining $15 million between December 2009 and February 2010, according to the company. Previous Zogenix investors Clarus Ventures and Domain Associates led the round. Other backers in the round include Abingworth Management, Oxford Finance Corporation, Scale Venture Partners, and Thomas, McNerney & Partners. This financing is good news for the company’s well known co-founder and chairman, Cam Garner, who has also co-founded other specialty pharmaceutical firms such as Evoke Pharma, Verus Pharmaceuticals, and Cadence Pharmaceuticals.

Zogenix says it now has the financial firepower to sell its first product, a needle-free sumatriptan injection, which the firm plans to market as Sumavel DosePro. Sumatriptan, which is a generic drug for migraines and other extremely painful headaches, is marketed by London-based drug giant GlaxoSmithKline as Imitrex. Glaxo reported $242 million in 2007 sales of sumatriptan, according to Zogenix. Zogenix’s delivery system releases a quick increase in pressure to penetrate the skin and then injects liquid medicines—without needles. The firm plans to build a commercial organization of 105 people to drive adoption of the product, which will be marketed in collaboration with Astellas Pharma US. The FDA approved the firm’s sumatriptan-delivery product this July.

“Despite the challenging economic and capital markets environment, the strong support from our entire group of venture capital investors validates our accomplishments,” said Roger Hawley, CEO of Zogenix, in a statement. “The Series B funding will now allow us to bring this unique product to migraine sufferers and establish our US commercial organization.”

There are more than 29.5 million American who suffer from migraines, most of them women, according to the National Headache Foundation. The painful headaches can last for several days and cause people to vomit and limit their movements to avoid increased pain.