Escient Pharmaceuticals has launched today after a completed $40 million Series A financing to advance first-in-class G Protein-Coupled Receptor (GPCR)-targeted drugs to address serious, un-served medical needs across a broad range of therapeutic indications.
Focused on unleashing the therapeutic potential of specific orphan GPCRs, including the novel family of Mas-Related G-Protein Receptors (Mrgprs), Escient will initially pursue therapies for neuro-immuno-inflammatory and autoreactive diseases.
The company will use proceeds from the financing, syndicated by The Column Group and 5AM Ventures and joined by Osage University Partners, to build out its team, advance its pipeline, and progress its initial preclinical programs to clinical study.
Escient’s Co-founders and executive leadership include Alain D. Baron, CEO, and Marcus F. Boehm, Chief Scientific Officer. Doctors Baron and Boehm bring deep expertise in GPCR drug discovery and development, respectively, each co-founding and serving in key leadership roles with companies including Elcelyx Therapeutics, Receptos, and Amylin Pharmaceuticals.
Escient’s scientific and third Co-founder, Xinzhong Dong, is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and Professor of Neuroscience, Neurosurgery and Dermatology with the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
“GPCR-targeted drugs account for a large percentage of today’s best-selling medicines. And, yet, this broad success has hinged upon exploiting a relatively small set of GPCRs, leaving significant opportunity to mine the potential of numerous unexplored GPCRs, including the specific receptors we are focused on at Escient,” said Baron.
“We look forward to building a world-class team in the coming months dedicated to translating our proprietary insights about the functions and biology of these target GPCRs to develop novel therapies that address serious, un-served clinical needs of patients impacted by our lead indications.”