Touting superior nasal delivery, Satsuma bags $62M for new formulation of old migraine drug

A single-minded biotech out of South San Francisco has raised $62 million to run the last mile hoping to breath new life into a generic migraine drug.

John Kollins

Spun out of Japan’s Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories two years ago, Satsuma Pharmaceuticals’ sole lead asset combines dihydroergotamine with a dry-powder nasal formulation and drug delivery technologies developed by the parent company.

Dihydroergotamine works by tightening blood vessels in the brain and inhibiting the release of pro-inflammatory substances. Unlike the much-watched CGRP class, it is designed for acute treatment instead of prevention. Although nasal sprays are currently available, they are generally considered less effective than the injectable versions — and that’s what Satsuma is out to change.

RA Capital Management, TPG Biotech and Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories provided the the initial $12 million in Series A cash to get the project started. This time around, Wellington Management Company jumped in to lead the round, alongside new investors Osage University Partners, CAM Capital, Surveyor, Eventide Asset Management, Cormorant, Lumira Ventures and SBI Investment.

The proceeds will allow Satsuma to go all in on the Phase III for STS101, which is slated to begin in the third quarter.

Satsuma’s small management team listed on its website includes CEO John Kollins, an alum of Athena Neurosciences and Amgen-acquired Immunex, and Mic Iwashima, who moved from a 15-year career at Shin Nippon to become the biotech’s head of operations.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
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Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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