ST. LOUIS and SAN DIEGO (May 12, 2014) – RiverVest Venture Partners today announced portfolio company Lumena Pharmaceuticals has been sold to Dublin-based Shire Plc., in a transaction with an upfront payment of $260 million in cash, plus a payment for net cash at closing, and near-term contingent milestone payments related to ongoing clinical trials.
In the three years since it received initial seed funding from life sciences venture capital firm RiverVest, Lumena has developed two transformative drugs to provide better treatment options for adults and children who suffer from rare and debilitating liver diseases and serious metabolic disorders.
In addition to its financial commitment, RiverVest provided hands-on support to accelerate Lumena’s clinical programs and orphan drug designations. Niall O’Donnell, Ph. D., RiverVest managing director, acted as Lumena’s interim chief medical officer for 18 months, Bradley Keller, Ph.D., RiverVest’s entrepreneur-in-residence, served as Lumena’s vice president of research, and John McKearn, Ph.D., RiverVest managing director, served as chairman of Lumena’s board of directors.
“Lumena is another example of our strategy working effectively,” said McKearn. We identify promising early-stage companies with the goal of exiting them within five years, and we provide the guidance and expertise to speed them towards commercialization, making them attractive for sale.”
San Diego-based Lumena is the sixth company to exit from RiverVest’s Fund II (2006), which had total commitments of $75 million. Fund II’s five previous exits have generated a total of $82.5 million. With the Lumena sale, total potential Fund II proceeds from these six exits could reach $227 million.
RiverVest Fund II’s earlier exits include:
1) Minneapolis, MN-based Lutonix, Inc. (medical device) sold to C.R. Bard (NYSE: BCR)
2) San Clemente, CA-based Cameron Health, Inc. (medical device) sold to Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX)
3) Houston, TX-based IDEV Technologies, Inc. (medical device) sold to Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT)
4) San Diego, CA-based Excaliard Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (biopharma) sold to Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE)
5) San Diego, CA-based Mpex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., (biopharma) sold to Aptalis Pharma, which was subsequently acquired by Forest Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: FRX)