European VC firm Forbion, New Science Ventures and BioGeneration Ventures have helped bump up a $19 million series B round for Escalier Biosciences and its dermatologic and autoimmune targets.
The cash boost will be put toward the Netherlands-based biotech’s RORγt compounds through to human, proof-of-concept tests.
The nuclear hormone receptor RORγt has, according to Escalier, 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. The company is planning on using small molecule inhibitors of RORγt to help lower the production of IL-17 in immune cells.
It’s gunning for both oral and topical formulations and said in a brief update that it 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 also be joining Escalier’s board as part of the financing.
“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.”