Coralville firm gets $60 million commitment

KemPharm focuses on safer ways to treat pain

A Coralville clinical stage biopharmaceutical company has received a $60 million financing commitment from an investment fund.

KemPharm, which focuses on discovery and development of safer therapies to treat pain and other central nervous system disorders, received $10 million on June 2 through a secured senior convertible note from Deerfield Management Co. of New York. The note is convertible into shares of KemPharm’s stock.

Deerfield Management also provided the Coralville company an initial $15 million through a secured senior term debt facility.

KemPharm can access the remaining $35 million of the secured senior term debt after completing certain pre-identified milestones.

KemPharm plans to use the proceeds of the financing to fund its clinical, regulatory and operational growth.

Specifically, the company plans to advance its lead product candidate, KP201 (benzhydrocodone hydrochloride and acetaminophen), through potential Food and Drug Administration approval and into commercial development.

Jonathan Leff, partner with Deerfield Management, has been named to KemPharm’s board of directors.

Travis Mickle, president and CEO of KemPharm, said the financing from Deerfield Management strengthens his company and will enable the rapid advancement of KP201 and similar abuse-deterrent prodrugs.

“KemPharm has the financial and strategic backing of a leading health care investment firm, which we intend to fully leverage as we deploy our prodrug technology to help address the epidemic problem of opioid abuse,” Mickle said.

Opioids are medications such as OxyContin, Percocet, morphine and codeine that relieve pain. They reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain.

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