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					MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2010                                    Business                                                  WWW.PHILLY.COM

                   Start-up is hoping for a
                       dose of success
       By Christopher K. Hepp                  nose, and throat specialist that he            maceuticals are developed and com-
            INQUIRER STAFF WRITER              walked away from the company he                mercialized.”
                                               cofounded—Take        Care      Health           Avista Capital Partners L.P., a New
  Peter Miller and Ramy A. Mahmoud             Systems L.L.C.—to become chief                 York investment firm, has enough
have a shared definition of brilliant:         executive officer of OptiNose US Inc.,         faith in the idea that it wagered $48.9
an idea so “blindly simple” that, as           a Yardley start-up that hopes to man-          million in June on OptiNose. The
Mahmoud puts it, one wonders why               ufacture and sell the device once it           money represents about 5 percent of
no one had thought of it before.               has Food and Drug Administration               the average cost of developing a new
  Both readily hang the tag on a small         approval.                                      drug, according to Mahmoud. In this
plastic contraption that they say will           Taken as well by the apparatus was           instance, Miller said, OptiNose’s
revolutionize how a wide swath of              Mahmoud, a physician who jumped                spray-delivery system, using existing
medications are delivered to patients.         from his job as chief medical officer          drugs, could have the effect of a new
  A nasal-spray dispenser powered              for Ethicon Inc., a subsidiary of              pharmaceutical at a fraction of the
by the user’s own breath, the device           Johnson & Johnson, to become                   cost.
has the potential, its backers boast, of       OptiNose’s chief operating officer.              “We want to create value that is sus-
improving drug effectiveness, reduc-             “We have a device that takes good            tainable, that is real, for patients, for
ing dosages, and even ending injec-            drugs and enables them to be deliv-            doctors, for health-care payers,” he
tion of vaccines.                              ered into the body in a way that               said. “We think this can do that.”
  And, for investors, earning billions         makes them not just a little better, but         The object of Miller’s enthusiasm is
in sales.                                      substantially better,” Miller said             a rather straightforward product not
  Miller said he believed enough in            recently. “This has the potential to           much bigger than a hummingbird.
this creation of a Norwegian ear,              disrupt and transform the way phar-            Imagine a spray dispenser with a

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                                                                                                                         SOURCE: OptiNose

                                                                                              quickly absorb and move drugs into
                                                                                              the bloodstream.
                                                T                                 mouth,
                                     ne         t                                of the       In the case of a typical spray dispenser,
                   part of the pla
                                 astic          airway that conneects nasal passages to the   much of a drug dose is lost to the throat
  Deliver y        dispenser in the mouth       lungs and throat. The air moves through       and stomach, where its effects are
                                                                                              delayed or even undermined by the
                   while a nosepiece is         the dispenser, dispersing the drug
   System          pressed into one nostril.    throughout the nasal cavity.                  digestive process.
                                                                                                                     The Philadelphia Inquirer                                                  THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER                                                    Monday, September 27, 2010

                                                     a large hollow behind the nose lined                             body by way of the nasal membranes.
                                                     with membranes that can quickly                                    Vaccines are an example, Mahmoud
                                                     absorb and move drugs into the blood,                            said. Typically large, complex mole-
                                                     he said.                                                         cules, many vaccines are broken
                                                       In the case of a typical spray dis-                            down and destroyed if they enter the
                                                     penser, much of a drug dose is lost to                           body through the stomach. They must
                                                     the throat and stomach, where its                                be injected intravenously.
                                                     effects are delayed or even under-                                 If vaccines can be safely and effi-
                                                     mined by the digestive process,                                  ciently delivered by nasal spray,
                                                     Mahmoud said.                                                    patients could vaccinate themselves,
                                                       OptiNose’s initial clinical trials                             reducing costs and the medical waste
                                                     have shown the device can more                                   that comes with using needles,
                                                     effectively deliver painkillers for                              Mahmoud said.
                                                     migraines, and steroids to treat nasal                             OptiNose is now conducting clinical
                                                     polyps.                                                          trials to win FDA approval to use the
                                                       “I’m very excited about it,” said                              device to deliver fluticasone, a
                                                     James Palmer, director of rhinology                              steroid used to treat polyps, and
                                                     at the Hospital of the University of                             sumatriptan, a migraine medication.
                                                     Pennsylvania, who treats patients                                  The company, recently moved from
                                                     with nasal polyps. “It takes the same                            Norway, has all of 14 employees as it
                                                     dosage of steroids we have been using                            builds the infrastructure it needs to
                                                     for years and know are safe clinically                           support the future Miller envisions.
                                                     but don’t work as well as we like and                              “We plan to be on the market in
Peter Miller with the nasal spray device.            puts those steroids really where we                              three to four years,” he said. “These
                                                     want them to go, so you can take the                             two products [fluticasone and suma-
small spout to blow through while a                  same doses and get a better effect.”                             triptan] alone have the sales potential
nosepiece is pressed into a nostril.                   Palmer has been advising the firm                              of $300 [million] to $400 million. I see
  Blowing air through the mouth trig-                and is considering a formal consult-                             us as eventually being a specialty-
gers the automatic closing of the air-               ing arrangement with the firm, Frank                             pharmaceutical company with 500 to
way that connects the nasal passages                 Closurdo, OptiNose’s chief marketing                             1,000 employees.”
to the lungs and throat, Mahmoud                     officer, said.                                                     Which he and Mahmoud agreed
said.                                                  Beyond polyps and migraines, the                               would be brilliant.
  With the nasal passages sealed,                    device could provide a boost for any
spray material is more effectively                   number of drugs that could be more                               Contact staff writer Christopher K. Hepp at
dispersed throughout the nasal cavity,               effective or convenient entering the                             215-854-2208 or


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