Omeros, Developer of Knee-Surgery Enhancer, Raises $20 Million in Debt Financing

Xconomy Seattle — 

Maybe the credit markets aren’t as tight as so many people think. Omeros, the Seattle company that’s developing a treatment to boost the effectiveness of arthroscopic knee surgery, said it has borrowed as much as $20 million to finance its clinical trials and earlier-stage animal tests.

Omeros, which has no marketed products, filed to go public earlier this year but, with the stock market sour on IPOs, hasn’t gone through with it. The alternative financing is from BlueCrest Capital Finance, which is loaning Omeros $5 million, and as much as $15 million more if the company meets certain conditions. Other terms weren’t disclosed.

“This credit facility provides us with increased financial flexibility as we continue to expand our clinical programs and advance our deep preclinical pipeline,” said Gregory Demopulos, Omeros’ CEO, in a statement.

Omeros’ lead product in development is built on what it calls PharmacoSurgery, a technique that’s in the final stage of clinical trials to see if it can use a combination of drugs delivered locally during surgery to reduce post-operative knee pain and improve function in the joint after arthroscopic surgery. The company raised $63 million in venture capital in February 2007 from a long list of backers, including Arch Venture Partners, Aravis Venture, Novartis Venture Fund, Southern Cross Capital, and WRF Capital.

Omeros, founded in 1994, reported it had 62 employees at the end of 2007 with plans to grow to about 70 or 80 by the end of this year.