BATON ROUGE, La., June 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Esperance Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced the first closing of a $7.5 million Series B financing. Proceeds from the Series B will support further clinical development of EP-100, the lead cancer-targeting drug candidate from Esperance's Cationic Lytic Peptide (CLYPTM) platform technology and the continued expansion of the Company's pipeline. Sanofi led the Series B funding with an investment of $4.5 million, which includes $1.5 million in clinical and regulatory services to support further development of EP-100. In addition, all existing institutional investors in Esperance -- Louisiana Fund I, Themelios Ventures, Research Corporation Technologies and Advantage Capital Partners/Louisiana Technology Fund -- as well as current and new private investors participated in the syndicate.
"We are extremely pleased to welcome Sanofi as an investor and strategic partner to Esperance and we are grateful for the unanimous, continued support of our current investors," said Hector Alila, PhD, President and CEO of Esperance Pharmaceuticals. "We believe the quality of this syndicate speaks directly to the significant potential of our pipeline and we look forward to being able to deliver on the clinical promise of EP-100 and our CLYPTM platform technology."
"Esperance has made great strides over the last few years building an impressive, proprietary technology platform with broad-based application and bringing forth strong therapeutic candidates to its pipeline," said Joseph F. Lovett, Chairman of the Board of Esperance and Managing General Partner at Louisiana Fund I. "I am pleased to continue to be part of the progress moving forward and I believe the caliber of investors involved in this syndicate, particularly Sanofi, is a significant accomplishment for Esperance and speaks to the strength of the growing biotech community in this region."
Esperance is using its CLYPTM technology to develop a robust portfolio of novel targeted membrane-disrupting peptides (tMDPs) to selectively destroy cancer cells that express target receptors. EP-100, the lead candidate, is designed to seek and destroy cancer cells that over-express luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH) receptors on their surfaces and is currently in a Phase 1 study in patients with advanced solid tumors. LHRH receptors are over-expressed in a wide range of human cancers including breast, prostate, endometrial, pancreatic, ovarian, skin, testicular and blood cancers. In addition to EP-100, Esperance has other drug candidates in preclinical stages of development, all of which have a unique targeting mechanism of action whereby candidates bind specifically and exclusively to surface antigens or receptors on cancer cells.
About Esperance Pharmaceuticals
Esperance Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a clinical stage company developing a new class of targeted anticancer drugs using its Cationic Lytic Peptide (CLYPTM) platform technology. These drug candidates, called targeted membrane-disrupting peptides (tMDPs) and antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) selectively seek and destroy cancer cells, including cells known to be resistant to chemotherapeutic drugs, without harming normal cells. Targeting occurs through binding to specific receptors and antigens on the cell's surface. The Company was founded on patented technology discovered by scientists at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, the Louisiana State (LSU) Ag Center and LSU main campus. Founding investors include the Louisiana Fund I, Themelios Ventures and Research Corporation Technologies. Additional investors include Sanofi, Advantage Capital Partners/Louisiana Technology Fund and private investors. More information can be found at www.esperancepharma.com.