Amarin Corp, an Irish firm listed on the Nasdaq, has announced a $70 million private placement which will help to push its late-stage lipid treatment closer to the market.

The placement, “with several existing and new institutional and accredited investors,” consists of $66.4 million in cash proceeds and $3.6 million from the conversion of convertible bridge notes. Most of the money will be used to progress Amarin’s two Phase III trials of AMR101 in patients with very high triglyceride levels and mixed dyslipidemia through to a New Drug Application filing.

AMR101, a prescription-grade omega-3 fatty acid, represents a “multi-billion dollar cardiovascular opportunity”, according to chief executive Thomas Lynch, who noted that over the past 12 months, “we have significantly de-risked the Phase III programme with two Special Protocol Assessment agreements with the US Food and Drug Administration”. With the financing, the programme is now funded through to the NDA filing, “anticipated to occur not later than 2012”, he added.

In April 2009, a marketing authorisation application for AMR101 in patients with Huntington’s disease was accepted for review by the European Medicines Agency, while another treatment, EN101, an orally-delivered oligonucleotide being developed for myasthenia gravis, has demonstrated safety and efficacy in a Phase Ib study and a Phase IIa exploratory trial.

Following the closing of the financing, Mr Lynch is stepping down as chief executive but will stay on as chairman of the Dublin-headquartered group. Declan Doogan, Amarin’s head of R&D, will serve as interim CEO.