Isis, Excaliard Collaborate To Develop Antisense Drugs For Local Treatment Of Fibrotic Diseases

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Fibrotic Diseases

Isis, Excaliard announced a new collaboration to discover and develop antisense drugs for the local treatment of fibrotic diseases, including scarring.

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Isis has granted Excaliard an exclusive worldwide license for the development and commercialization of certain antisense drugs. Excaliard made an upfront payment to Isis in the form of equity and paid Isis $1 million cash for the licensing of a particular gene target. In addition, Isis is eligible to receive development milestones and royalties on antisense drugs developed by Excaliard.

"Isis has made superb progress in the development of second-generation antisense drugs over the last few years, as evidenced by its clinical pipeline and current collaborations with companies such as Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Ortho-McNeil among others. Having access to Isis' antisense technology and expertise provides a great opportunity for Excaliard," said J. Gordon Foulkes, Ph.D., acting CEO for Excaliard and Managing Director of RiverVest Venture Partners, who co-founded Excaliard and provided the initial seed funding for the company.

Excaliard closed a $15.5 million Series A financing, co-led by Alta Partners, ProQuest Investments, and RiverVest Venture Partners, with Farah Champsi, Alain Schreiber and Gordon Foulkes respectively joining the Board of Directors. "It is a pleasure to once again be working with Isis, the leader in the discovery and development of RNA-based therapeutics," stated Nicholas Dean, Ph.D., co-founder and CSO of Excaliard. Dr. Dean was formerly Vice President of Oncology and Functional Genomics at Isis. "Fibrosis represents a significant and expanding area of unmet medical need, and we believe that antisense offers unique advantages in this area for developing a completely new class of anti-fibrotic agents. Excaliard plans to exploit this exciting opportunity by rapidly moving multiple antisense drugs into clinical development."

"The broad applicability of our antisense technology enables us to build a substantial and diverse pipeline of antisense drugs. In order to maximize the value of this technology, a key component of our business strategy is to enter into promising partnerships that provide tremendous growth opportunities for antisense drugs in diseases that are outside of our main therapeutic areas, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases," said B.Lynne Parshall, Executive Vice President and CFO of Isis. "Excaliard will benefit from access to our technology and intellectual property and join a growing list of partners who have focused teams dedicated to advancing antisense drugs and who enable us to continue to expand the breadth of our antisense drug pipeline."

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