EG 427, the French biotechnology company leading the development of precise DNA drug solutions, has announced the final closing of its Series A financing.
The company raised an additional €5 million ($5.6 million) at closing from a combination of existing investors and new family office investors, bringing the total raised in its Series A round to €18 million ($20 million).
“We are pleased to conclude this Series A round with the strong support of our existing investors, as we also welcome new investors,” said Philippe Chambon, founder, chairman and chief executive of EG 427.
“The funds raised will be used to advance our pipeline, culminating in the submission of an Investigative New Drug application in Q1 2024 for the first clinical study of our flagship product, EG110A. Thanks to our unique ability to deliver gene therapy to targeted tissues with pinpoint accuracy, EG110A could become the first gene therapy product to treat neurogenic bladder overactivity and other bladder pathologies. It could also be the first gene therapy targeting chronic disease with high morbidity in large underserved patient populations to reach the market.”
‘Strong therapeutic potential’ for the main product EG 427
“EG110A is the first innovative approach developed for patients suffering from neurogenic bladder overactivity in over a decade. Compared with other experimental therapies at this stage of development, the risk is reduced by two main precedents. First, the way EG110A provides similar efficacy – but with the potential for critical improvements in safety and efficacy – to a surgical option for this condition, called dorsal sacral root rhizotomy; and, second, the recent FDA approval of the first non-replicating HSV-1 vector gene therapy confirms that this approach has strong therapeutic potential beyond cancer,” said Cornelia Haag-Molkenteller, chief medical officer of EG 427.
“We are completing preparations to start clinical trials with EG110A in Q1 2024. We believe the well-established development and regulatory pathways, combined with the unmet need for a well-differentiated product like EG110A will allow us to advance quickly and potentially deliver a non- second oncolytic. nrHSV-1 gene therapy to patients.”
Neurogenic bladder dysfunction is a chronic and life-threatening condition that affects people living with spinal cord injuries or other neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease.
Pierre Denys, head of the Urology department at the R. Poincaré Hospital in Paris and co-founder of EG 427, says: “Patients with neurogenic bladder overactivity often experience episodes of incontinence due to their condition. It has a high psycho-social burden and has a negative impact on quality of life. It is also a medical threat associated with recurrent urinary tract infections, and can harm the patient’s kidneys if not managed properly. Even with currently approved drugs, there is still a major medical need for a long-term solution with fewer side effects.”
Existing drugs act by paralyzing the bladder muscle, in a more or less selective way, and can cause urinary retention, also associated with infection. Based on the highly targeted gene therapy delivery delivered by the nrHSV-1 vector, EG110A, in contrast, selectively silences only C-type sensory neurons in the bladder by delivering botulinum toxin F light chains (BoNT/F LC).
Maintain muscle function
This approach has been shown to preserve bladder muscle function in preclinical testing. Thanks to local administration of the nrHSV-1 vector to bladder muscle and the vector’s natural tropism from there to sensory neurons, EG110A achieves remarkable specificity for targeted neurons, without spreading systemically like other small viral vectors used in gene therapy, such as adeno-associated viruses (AAVs).
Compared to available treatments, EG110A can also provide long-term efficacy, reducing or potentially even eliminating the need for repeat injections.
EG110A has demonstrated proof-of-concept efficacy in several relevant preclinical models including for bladder dysfunction. Separately, its mechanism of action, silencing of sensory neurons, has been clinically validated by a surgical procedure known as dorsal sacral root rhizotomy, which is almost never used because it causes other disorders. This surgical technique bypasses the dorsal nerve roots in the spinal cord and is not selective for bladder sensory neurons such as EG110A.
Later this year, EG 427 will begin Series B fundraising to finance clinical development of EG110A and advance other pipeline products.