EpiEndo Pharmaceuticals Secures EUR 20 Million Series A Funding to Advance Clinical Development of its Non-Antibiotic Macrolide for the treatment of COPD
EpiEndo Pharmaceuticals (www.epiendo.com), a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on a novel barrier enhancing approach to the treatment of chronic inflammatory airway diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), announces the closing of a €20m Series A financing round led by Flerie Invest and Iðunn Venture Fund, with existing investors ABC Ventures participating, along with the European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund joining the round. The financing secures funds to advance clinical development of EpiEndo’s lead compound EP395, which entered phase I clinical trials in April, through Phase IIa, targeting COPD as a primary indication. EpiEndo’s development rationale is based on a newly acknowledged therapeutic paradigm, that loss of integrity of epithelial barriers plays a critical role in propagating chronic inflammatory diseases in lungs and contributes to vulnerability to infections associated with acute exacerbations of airway diseases. “I am delighted to announce the closing of this new investment round,” commented Maria Bech, CEO of EpiEndo Pharma. “We are very pleased to welcome such well-reputed investors as Flerie Invest and Iðunn Venture Fund to help us build our company and are honoured that the European Innovation Council Fund has chosen EpiEndo as its first follow-on investment. We are also grateful for the continued support of our existing investors. This financing is a major step for EpiEndo, not only funding our lead compound through clinical development in patients with COPD, but also enabling exploration of other important potential therapeutic application areas such as dermatology and gastrointestinal disorders, where compromised epithelial integrity is known to contribute to disease pathophysiology.”
Macrolide antibiotics such as azithromycin have been known for decades to exhibit good disease modifying efficacy against many chronic inflammatory airway diseases in addition to their antibacterial properties, in which their long-term use reduces the frequency and severity of inflammatory flare-ups and exacerbations. Although beneficial for overall health and prognosis, their off-label use in these patient populations has led to the emergence of macrolide resistance in the host flora.
EpiEndo’s lead compound EP395 is a new chemical entity in which the epithelial regenerative properties and anti-inflammatory effects seen with macrolides have been augmented, and the anti-bacterial properties removed. Using this Series A funding, EpiEndo aims to advance the clinical development of EP395 towards approval as the first disease modifying non-antibiotic macrolide that can be prescribed safely and effectively as a long-term treatment for patients with COPD.
“We have followed EpiEndo for some time and have seen impressive progress towards clinical phase of their lead compound EP 395. We are proud to take part in their continuing journey with the aim to deliver substantially improved treatment of COPD,” said Carl-Johan Spak, Senior Advisor at Flerie Invest.
“EpiEndo is an attractive investment opportunity for Iðunn and a good fit for our fund’s investment strategy. We are looking forward to work with the company in the coming years to develop its lead candidate through the coming clinical phases. It is important for Iðunn to participate in the translation of new scientific discovery into clinical practice,” commented Hilmar Bragi Janusson, Managing Director of Iðunn Venture Fund.
“ABC is thrilled to obtain, in this round, a group of new investors to co-lead with us and support EpiEndo´s quest to create a solution to some of the most problematic diseases,” commented Ivar Gudjonsson, Managing Director of ABC Venture and a board member of EpiEndo.
“EpiEndo Pharmaceuticals’ challenge is to develop a new class of drugs and we are delighted to take part in this scale up journey,” said José Fernando Figueiredo, EIC Fund Investment Committee member, “The EIC Fund is taking part in this financial round to help this great example of a life science company to develop and deploy breakthrough treatment of chronic obstructive inflammatory pulmonary disease.”
About EpiEndo Pharmaceuticals (www.epiendo.com) EpiEndo is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with a unique approach to inflammatory disorders that focuses on enhancement of epithelial barrier integrity as a critical pathophysiological factor underlying the etiology of a number of major diseases. Epithelial cells are a key component of the barrier that makes up human lung tissue and other organs such as the gut and skin. Compromised integrity of this barrier is implicated in the progression and non-resolution of several chronic inflammatory diseases.
EpiEndo is developing a proprietary portfolio of orally available macrolide drugs with promise as first-in-class disease-modifying therapeutics, to address the huge global burden of chronic diseases of the lung and other organs where there is other significant unmet medical need. EpiEndo’s lead drug candidate, EP395, aims to be the first on-market oral, non-antibiotic, barrier strengthening and anti-inflammatory macrolide for the treatment of COPD.
About ABC Ventures ABC Venture ehf is a holding company for investment in EpiEndo. ABC Venture´s shareholders are group of private investors. ABC Venture has been a lead investor since 2018 and is continuing to support the growth of EpiEndo.
About the European Innovation Council Fund (eic.ec.europa.eu) Established in June 2020, the European Innovation Council Fund (EIC Fund) is a breakthrough initiative of the European Commission to make direct equity and quasi-equity investments (between €500.000 and €15 million) in European high impact and deep tech start-ups and scale ups. The EIC Fund provides patient capital and invests in companies from any sector, across all EU countries and countries associated to Horizon 2020.
The EIC Fund aims to fill a critical financing gap and its main purpose is not to maximise financial investment returns, but to have a high impact by accompanying companies with and disruptive technologies in their growth. Its objective is to crowd in market players, further sharing risks by building a large network of capital providers and strategic partners suitable for co-investments and follow-on funding.
The Fund pays particular attention to empower and support female founders as well as contributing to reduce the innovation divide among EU countries.
About Flerie Invest (www.flerie.com) Based in Stockholm and London and with investments across the EU, UK, US and Israel, the beginnings of Flerie Invest started with Thomas Eldered, co-founder and builder of Recipharm, which within 25 years became the fifth largest pharma CDMO in the world. Flerie Invest is a long-term developer of companies with ambitious science and the ability to tackle major medical challenges. Flerie Invest finances venture and growth stage companies engaged in drug development and associated tools or applications tackling major medical challenges of our time.
About Iðunn Venture Fund (www.kvikaeignastyring.is/en) Iðunn is a newly established venture capital fund focused on long-term growth opportunities in life sciences and health technology. Iðunn is based in Reykjavík, Iceland and is operated by Kvika Asset Management. Iðunn’s focus is to drive growth and fund translation of innovative ideas from the prolific Icelandic innovative community of research and development. Iðunn invests both in Icelandic companies and internationally, building on long experience in the fields of life science and healthcare technology, together with experienced talents from asset management.