Escalier Biosciences has secured $19M (€15M) in funding, which will be used to advance its oral and topical treatments for psoriasis.
Escalier Biosciences, based in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, has secured $19M (€15M) in Series B financing round led by Forbion Capital Partners and joined by New Science Ventures and BioGeneration Ventures. Escalier will use the funding to develop its treatment for psoriasis and other autoimmune diseases and expects the technology to enter the clinic by mid-2018.
Escalier’s technology inhibits the nuclear hormone receptor RORyt, which regulates the differentiation of certain white blood cells and the production of cytokines involved in inflammation, such as IL-17A and IL-17F. Therefore it can potentially dampen inflammation in psoriasis and other autoimmune conditions.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that results in red, scaly patches on a patient’s skin. An estimated 125 million people worldwide are affected by psoriasis, of which 10 -30% develop psoriatic arthritis. While there is no current cure for psoriasis, the condition can go into remission with current treatments.
Despite the confidence of its investors, Escalier would be competing with AbbVie’s Humira, the best-selling prescription drug in the world. And it will not be the only one. Morphosys is another contender in the ring with its monoclonal antibody psoriasis treatment guselkumab, which was approved in Europe last year. Meanwhile, Novartis is testing its monoclonal antibody Consentyx against Humira in treating psoriasis.
Competition is big, but the fact that Escalier’s small molecule technology can be applied orally or topically could distinguish it from competitors, which mostly rely on injections.
Images by Ternavskaia Olga Alibec, Designua/Shutterstock