Xeris just announced the closing of $41 million in Series C financing. The Redmile Group led the round, with participation from other new investors (Deerfield Management, Sabby Management, and The McNair Group) and undisclosed existing investors. The $41 million in funds from these well-regarded institutional investors is a solid vote of confidence in the company’s pipeline and market potential, and Redmile Group’s Managing Director Robert Faulkner will join Xeris’ Board of Directors. The funds will help move the G-Pen (stabilized glucagon) auto-injector for severe hypoglycemia into phase 3. Xeris expects to begin dosing patients this quarter (1Q16); it is following an approach similar to Locemia’s phase 3, which will test the glucagon under induced hypoglycemia in roughly 75 people with diabetes. The phase 3 timing is behind Xeris’ previous goals to begin the study by “end of 2015” and even earlier though certainly these funds should accelerate the company’s timeline. A big question for G-Pen is how it will compete with Lilly/Locemia’s phase-3-complete intranasal glucagon powder for severe hypoglycemia. Lilly will likely be first to market, has more expertise, and the intranasal form factor (needle free) is arguably more attractive to some patients than a pen in an emergency situation though some would appreciate the similar form factor in a much more workable product. We believe with products that work well (compared to the traditional glucose kits that are poorly designed), more than one can be successful and patient and caregiver preference will count for a lot as will perceptions about how well the products work and how easy they are to use and access. Xeris has two important and very differentiated chronic glucagon programs in phase 2: G-Pen Mini (a glucagon pen for mild and moderate hypoglycemia) and G-Pump (pumpable glucagon for the bi-hormonal closed-loop). We have not heard data on these in some time, but Xeris is ahead of others developing such products (most notably Zealand, who is in phase 1 with a liquid glucagon analog). Were glad to see continued competition for a better glucagon, given the billions spent on hypoglycemia annually in the US.
-- by Adam Brown and Kelly Close