Escape Bio announced the closing of a $73M financing led by Wellington Management Company LLP. Additional new investors include Avidity Partners, CAM Capital, New Leaf Ventures, Rock Springs Capital, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company) and Sphera Funds Management who join existing investors OrbiMed, Novo Holdings, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Novartis Venture Fund, Osage University Partners and Sutter Hill Ventures. In July of 2017 Escape closed an extension of its Series A financing, raising a total of $63 million. The funding will be used to advance the company’s two pipeline candidates, ESB1609 and ESB5070.
“We are delighted to partner with these new outstanding investors as we advance our pipeline of precision neurology medicines,” commented Julie Anne Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of ESCAPE. “The proceeds allow us to accelerate two programs into patients who lack disease modifying treatments.”
ESB1609 is a novel, orally administered, brain-penetrant and selective sphingosine-1-phosphate 5 (S1P5) receptor agonist. S1P5 receptors are predominantly expressed in the central nervous system (CNS) and natural killer (NK) cells as one of five receptors within the G-protein-coupled S1P receptor family (S1P1 – S1P5). Activation of S1P5 plays a significant counteractive role in many aspects of neurodegenerative disease and activity has been observed across multiple pre-clinical models of neurodegeneration. ESB1609 is currently in a Phase 1 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetic and biomarker study of escalating multiple doses in healthy volunteers. In January of 2020, the data were released from a single ascending dose study showing an excellent safety and tolerability profile. A U.S. IND filing is planned for this year.
ESB5070 is a novel, orally-administered, brain-penetrant and mutant-selective Leucine-Rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2) G2019S kinase inhibitor. G2019S is the most common pathogenic mutation linked to Parkinson’s disease (PD) occurring in 1–3% of PD patients. ESB5070 is being developed specifically for the treatment of subjects carrying the LRRK2 G2019S variant and is currently in IND-enabling toxicology studies.