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Dutch Biotech Raises $19M to Develop Psoriasis Drug Near San Diego

Xconomy San Diego — 

Escalier Biosciences BV, a biotech developing drugs for psoriasis and other autoimmune disorders, said it has raised $19 million in a Series B financing led by Forbion, a Dutch life sciences investor. Another Dutch investor, BioGeneration Ventures, and New York-based New Science Ventures joined the round, according to a statement from the company.

While Escalier Biosciences BV is based in the Netherlands, the company is managed by its subsidiary, Escalier Biosciences, based near San Diego in coastal Encinitas, CA, according to Chris Krueger, Escalier’s chief business officer. The Dutch biotech and its Encinitas subsidiary were both founded in 2016, but the founders (including CEO Raju Mohan) work in Encinitas and “the BV piece is much more virtual,” Krueger said Wednesday.

The founders sold a previous company, Akarna Therapeutics, to Allergan in 2016, according to a spokeswoman for the company.

Escalier’s drug targets a receptor that regulates inflammatory proteins associated with psoriasis. The company says its approach could also apply to other autoimmune disorders such as psoriatic arthritis, lupus, and inflammatory bowel disease. Escalier plans to use the proceeds to advance both a topical psoriasis treatment and oral drug from pre-clinical development through the completion of human proof-of-concept trials. The company, which has about six employees in the United States and Europe, said it plans to begin testing its topical compound in clinical trials later this year.

A spokeswoman for Escalier said the company has not disclosed any prior funding.