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Esperion Raises $22.75 Million

Esperion Therapeutics Inc., an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based developer of drug compounds to treat cardiovascular and metabolic disease, has raised $22.75 million in Series A funding. The deal helps spin Esperion out of Pifizer, which had acquired it in 2003. The round was co-led by Aisling Capital, Alta Partners and Domain Associates, with Pfizer retaining a minority equity position. 



Esperion Therapeutics, Inc. a biopharmaceutical company formed to focus on the discovery and development of compounds to treat cardiovascular and metabolic disease, today announced that it has been launched as a privately held, independent enterprise.

Pfizer Inc, under which Esperion previously operated as a separate research division, has sold Esperion Therapeutics, holding selected programs and related assets, to an entity funded by a syndicate of investors. Pfizer retains a financial interest in the enterprise. Additional financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Co-led by Aisling Capital, Alta Partners and Domain Associates, the tranched financing for Esperion also included participation by Arboretum Ventures. This support will allow further development of the Company's lead program for the treatment of dyslipidemias, as well as other potentially high density lipoprotein (HDL)-related therapeutics.

Esperion Therapeutics will be led by Dr. Roger Newton, the original co-founder, CEO and President of the Company. Esperion will continue to leverage the scientific expertise and resources that reside in its Ann Arbor, Mich., headquarters. As part of the spinout from Pfizer, Esperion will retain a small molecule dual inhibitor of fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis, for the treatment of dyslipidemias.

“We are extremely pleased to be working with such a strong group of investors as Esperion Therapeutics continues our important work in treating cardiovascular and metabolic disease,” stated CEO Dr. Roger Newton. “Re-establishing Esperion as a privately held entity ensures that the programs we have obtained will continue to advance as potentially important therapeutics. Without Pfizer's support, we would not have this opportunity to focus on these potential opportunities.”

Pfizer's contribution to the formation of the new Esperion shows the Company is embracing new strategies to refocus its R&D and create value from exited compounds,” said Martin Mackay, president of Pfizer Global Research & Development. “This transaction also enables Esperion to pursue its interests as a Michigan-based life science company while allowing Pfizer to support a new research venture and be involved in Esperion's potential success.”

Esperion's Dr. Newton has 27 years experience in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries. Most recently, he was the Senior Vice President of Pfizer Global Research and Development and Director of Esperion Therapeutics, a Pfizer Inc subsidiary. Prior to co-founding Esperion, Dr. Newton was an executive at Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis (now Pfizer) from 1981-1998. As chairman of the Atherosclerosis Drug Discovery Team, he co-discovered and was product champion of atorvastatin (Lipitor