Forbion leads $19 Million Series B Financing of Escalier Biosciences to Advance its Topical and Systemic RORγt Therapies for Psoriasis and other Autoimmune Diseases
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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."