NAARDEN, The Netherlands--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Forbion, one of the leading European life science venture capital firms, today announced that it led the $19 million Series B financing of Escalier Biosciences BV, a privately held biopharmaceutical company based in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Escalier Biosciences is developing both oral and topical RORγt drug candidates for psoriasis and other autoimmune diseases.
The financing round was completed by existing investors, New Science Ventures and BioGeneration Ventures and will be used to advance Escalier’s RORγt compounds through human proof-of-concept studies.
The nuclear hormone receptor RORγt has emerged as the “master” regulator of Th17 cell differentiation and the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-17A and IL-17F. Increased production of these cytokines has been linked to the pathophysiology of psoriasis. Small molecule inhibitors of RORγt have been shown to reduce production of IL-17 in immune cells and are promising therapies for psoriasis and other autoimmune conditions.
Escalier expects its topical compound to enter the clinic in mid-2018.
“Escalier’s team has an impressive track record of developing novel compounds targeting diseases with significant unmet medical need,” stated Marco Boorsma, General Partner at Forbion who will join Escalier’s Board of Directors. “We are excited to participate in this financing with New Science Ventures and BioGeneration Ventures and in supporting Escalier’s efforts to develop best-in-class drugs for the treatment of psoriasis and other autoimmune diseases.”
“RORγt is a validated target for psoriasis and other autoimmune disorders and our drug candidates have the potential to provide the desired efficacy and safety in psoriasis patients that is currently unavailable with other topical or oral drugs,” said Raju Mohan, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Escalier and previously CEO of Forbion’s portfolio company Akarna Therapeutics. “We are incredibly fortunate to have such a supportive syndicate of investors that share our passion in developing novel therapies for challenging targets, such as “RORγt."
Notes to Editors
Escalier Biosciences BV is a privately held biopharmaceutical company developing novel small molecule therapeutics that target RORyt for the treatment of psoriasis and other autoimmune disorders. Escalier’s lead topical and oral drug candidates are currently in late stage preclinical studies. Escalier is registered in The Netherlands with offices in Nijmegen, The Netherlands and Encinitas, California. www.escalierbio.com
Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune disease that results in raised, red, scaly patches on the skin. It is estimated that 7.5 million Americans and 125 million people worldwide have psoriasis. Between 10-30% of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis. Patients are categorized into mild, moderate or severe with the National Psoriasis Foundation. The majority of psoriasis patients are in the mild to moderate category.
Forbion Capital Partners is a dedicated life sciences venture capital firm with offices in The Netherlands and Germany. Forbion invests in life sciences companies that are active in the pharmaceutical, as well as the medical device space. Forbion’s investment team has built an impressive performance track record since the late nineties with successful investments in over 50 companies. Forbion manages well over €800M across nine funds. Its investors include the EIF, through its European Recovery Programme (ERP), LfA and Dutch Venture Initiative (DVI) facilities and the KFW through the ERP – Venture Capital Fondsfinanzierung facility. Forbion also operates a joint venture with BGV, the manager of seed and early stage funds focused on Benelux and Germany. www.forbion.com