NuPathe: A Simple Approach to a Complex Medical Problem
What does it take to shake up a complex, highly regulated industry? A visionary with single-minded purpose. Many would balk at taking on the pharmaceutical establishment, but neuroscientist Jane Hollingsworth met the challenge head-on. With a simple approach to a complex industry, Hollingsworth came up with a new way to deliver migraine medication.
Migraine symptoms can be debilitating, and the nausea/vomiting associated with migraines cause many sufferers to avoid or delay taking the oral medication typically prescribed. Hollingsworth, herself a migraine sufferer, saw a need for a more effective non-oral way to treat migraines.
Hollingsworth and her co-founder Terri Sebree launched NuPathe in 2005. NuPathe’s flagship product, Zelrix, is a patch that uses mild electronic pulses to administer medication through the skin. The first order of business was to secure funding and business support.
Teaming with a Proven Support System
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/SEP) invested $750,000 in NuPathe from 2006 to 2008—the company’s first investment capital. NuPathe continued to raise funds, and held a successful IPO in 2010, raising over $50 million in follow-on capital.
“I already knew of Ben Franklin Technology Partners through my previous endeavors,” said Hollingsworth, a serial entrepreneur. “They have a great track record and a stellar reputation. The opportunity to work with them had not yet come up for me, but when we started NuPathe, I knew they would be the ideal partner.”
I can honestly say that without the assistance of Ben Franklin, I don’t know if we would exist or come so far.
—Jane Hollingsworth, Cofounder, NuPathe
NuPathe’s research has evolved over time to therapeutics for diseases of the central nervous system, including neurological and psychiatric disorders. “Simply put, we’re not going to stop with a migraine solution,” said Hollingsworth. “Our patch technology carries over to a number of other medical conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.”
Expanding into New Markets
Since its inception in 2005, NuPathe has 25 new drug applications and 11 products focused on innovating through underserved markets. NuPathe’s Conshohocken office employs 29 people and is poised for more growth this year. NuPathe is awaiting FDA approval for Zelrix. Upon approval, they will hire a sales team of about 100 and a core internal team to support that effort.
“We are looking forward to so much in 2011, but I can honestly say that without the assistance of Ben Franklin, I don’t know if we would exist or come so far,” said Hollingsworth. “Getting a company off the ground is a huge challenge. Ben Franklin is critical to the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem in Pennsylvania.”
Keynotes April, 2011
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