Facio’s parent publishes Annual Report 2017
Leiden, the Netherlands – April 24, 2018
Facio Therapies announced today that its parent company, FSHD Unlimited, published its Annual Report for the year 2017 that consists of a Board Report and the audited annual accounts. Facio ended 2017 with the selection of its first series of potential FSHD drug development candidates and with over €3M in cash, which will enable Facio to continue operations until at least the end of 2018. Facio also disclosed that it is engaging investors to raise additional financing in 2018.
Facio has been founded by FSHD-affected families for the single purpose of meeting the medical needs of all FSHD patients. This translates into a double mission:
- A product mission: to develop safe and effective therapies that stop the progression of FSHD.
- A socio-economic mission: to maximize access to therapy by ensuring affordable pricing, and to allocate 50% of future net profits to (non-medicinal) projects that give FSHD patients a better quality of life.
The Board Report explains the principles underlying Facio’s mission and details progress made in 2017 as well as plans for 2018. David Dasberg, managing director of Facio; Otto Postma, managing director of FSHD Unlimited; and Kees van der Graaf, chairman of the Board, discussed key success factors.
Product mission: Separating the wheat from the chaff
David: “We pursue our product mission in close collaboration with Evotec, a global leader in drug discovery and early drug development. Drug discovery works like a funnel. We tested 34,000 compounds for their ability to suppress DUX4, the muscle-toxic protein that causes FSHD, and came up with more than 300 compounds that did. This means we are able to separate positives (compounds that suppress DUX4) from negatives (compounds that don’t). But it doesn’t stop there. Importantly, we are also able to separate true positives (compounds that suppress DUX4 through pharmacological action) from false positives (compounds that only appear to suppress DUX4). That’s how we arrived at our first innovative series of potential FSHD drug development candidates. We are confident that this result is meaningful because our test system captures the human biology of FSHD and enables determining DUX4 protein levels. Technically, that is extremely complicated, and we remain the only entity in the FSHD field with that system.”
Socio-economic mission: Spending less, achieving more
Otto: “Drug pricing is hotly debated sometimes, but in our view it’s really a business issue that requires a business solution. The key to affordable pricing is the efficient use of capital, simply because that gives a bigger bang for the buck. We have two basic rules to manage our costs. First, we only spend money when that’s critical for developing a therapy, and we do that flexibly by outsourcing the associated work while keeping our fixed cost at a functional minimum (that’s the “buck” part). Second, we make sure that the money we do spend is productive by thoroughly managing the risks that are inherent to drug development (that’s the “bang” part). That way, it took us just two and a half years and less than €5M in total operational cost to get to where we are now. By pharmaceutical industry standards, that’s highly capital efficient.”
The bottom line: Patient power works
Kees: “We are proud of our roots, just as we are proud of so far having raised over €8M in equity from FSHD-affected families, their friends, FSHD foundations, and Evotec. But most important of all, Facio shows that it is possible for patients to empower themselves. Patients can truly come together and push for a safe, effective and affordable therapy by organizing a small team with the proven ability to smartly use capital for rigorous R&D of the highest quality. We fully intend to extend and expand that approach as we set our eyes on our first-in-human study, which we currently plan to start in 2021. Certainly, we are keen to move ahead quickly, but not at the expense of quality. We must – and will – continue to be rigorous in our work because we are very aware that our progress creates hope.”
The full Annual Report 2017 can be downloaded here.