Rebooted and Rising

. May 29, 2013.

The rebooted Ann Arbor drug development company, Esperion, closed on $33 million funding round last month just before reporting the success of its Phase 2 clinical trials of its cholesterol lowering therapy. Esperion was resurrected by its original founder Roger Newton, who relicensed its name and intellectual property in 2008 from Pfizer.

The company is developing a therapy from the molecule ETC-1002 that targets low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the so-called bad cholesterol that endangers the health of 9 million people. Company officials reported that its therapy lowered LDL cholesterol up to 43 percent in Phase 2 trials.

The funding will allow the company to continue trials and, analysts speculate, take the company public next year.

Newton, who started the original Esperion, led the team that developed Lipitor. He sold the company to Pfizer in 2004 for $1.3 billion. Pfizer eventually shut the company down, allowing Newton to buy back the patent for ETC-1002 for $22.75 million. Esperion is based in the Michigan Life Science and Innovation Center incubator in Plymouth Township.

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