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13 July 2017

E-Scape takes on $63m series A

E-Scape Bio, a spinout of Gladstone Institutes, has achieved a final close of its series A thanks to commitments from Osage University Partners and several corporates.

Author: Thierry Heles, editor

E-Scape Bio, a US-based biopharmaceutical spinout of Gladstone Institutes targeting neurodegenerative diseases, closed a $63m series A round yesterday backed by spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners.

The round consisted of two tranches, with Osage participating in a first $55m close led by OrbiMed in 2015.

The first portion also included pharmaceutical firms Novo, Johnson and Johnson and Novartis – the latter two took part through respective investment units Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JJDC and Novartis Venture Fund.

Lilly Asia Ventures, the regional corporate venturing subsidiary of pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, and Sutter Hill Ventures provided the extension.

E-Scape Bio was spun out of Gladstone Institutes, a non-profit biomedical research organisation affiliated with University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), in 2015.

The spinout is working on treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, targeting inherited genetic drivers of the conditions and correcting dysfunctional proteins causing the disorder. It is initially focusing on Alzheimer’s disease.

The approach is based on research by Yadong Huang, senior investigator at Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease and professor of neurology and pathology at UCSF, and Robert Mahley, president emeritus and senior investigator at Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease and Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease and professor of pathology and medicine at UCSF.

Leon Chen, interim chief executive officer of E-Scape Bio, said: “The drug we are developing could help the millions of Americans afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease, and for whom there are currently no effective treatments.

“Backed by human genetics and strong mechanistic underpinnings, this target and project are extremely promising, and we are excited to pursue this endeavour.”

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