Facio raises €8M in equity financingLeiden, the Netherlands - November 16, 2018
Facio Therapies announced today that it had successfully completed an equity financing round with proceeds of €8M (approximately A$12.5M; C$12M; US$9M). FSHD Spain and 30 other members of the FSHD community newly invested alongside existing investors, including Facio’s drug discovery partner, Evotec. Facio will use these funds to expand its recently announced in vivoproof of principle and to advance selected lead candidates towards clinical studies.
The key event in FSHD is the undue production of the DUX4 protein in skeletal muscle. DUX4 sets in motion a cascade of biochemical events that eventually result in the devastating effects of FSHD. In people without FSHD, the production of DUX4 in skeletal muscle is repressed by regulatory mechanisms. Facio’s single goal is to develop therapies that restore this repression as much as possible. Facio is the only one in the FSHD field with a fully automated, high-throughput screening platform based on quantifying the DUX4 protein in unadulterated (“primary”) FSHD-affected muscle cells. Recently, Facio delivered the first-ever proof of principle in FSHD using one of its lead candidates in a unique FSHD-relevant animal model (“in vivo”).
Three FSHD-affected families founded Facio in September 2014. Since then, Facio has raised over €16M in equity. About 77% of that amount has been invested by members of the FSHD community. Facio’s investor base now spans 14 countries around the world. FSHD Spain became the fifth FSHD foundation to invest in Facio, joining Amis FSH(France), FSHD Canada, FSHD Global Research (Australia), and the FSHD Stichting (Netherlands).
“The success of this financing round is not only that we reached our goal of raising €8 million,” said Facio’s Chairman, Kees van der Graaf. “The success is just as well that Facio’s message resonates with an ever-growing number of FSHD-affected families across the globe. We, people living with FSHD, don’t have to wait and hope for a breakthrough to happen. We’re breaking through to therapy ourselves. That is Facio’s message.”
FSHD (facioscapulohumeral dystrophy) is a skeletal muscle wasting disease that devastates the lives of over 700,000 people worldwide and those close to them. The loss of muscle strength has a huge impact on daily life. Living with FSHD means living with pain, fatigue, and social isolation. Above all, the future becomes uncertain because the course of the disease is unpredictable. About 20% of people with FSHD end up in a wheelchair. Currently, no therapy for FSHD is available other than forms of temporary symptomatic relief.
About Facio Therapies BV
Facio Therapies, established in 2014, is a Netherlands-based company with a single focus: to overcome FSHD by developing a causal therapy that restores the natural repression of the muscle-toxic protein, DUX4. When unduly produced in skeletal muscle, DUX4 sets in motion a cascade of cellular events that eventually result in the muscle wasting seen in FSHD. Facio is the only one in the FSHD field with a fully automated, high-throughput screening platform based on quantifying the DUX4 protein in unadulterated (“primary”) FSHD-affected muscle cells. Facio delivered the first-ever therapeutically relevant proof of principle in FSHD by showing that one of its lead candidates, an orally active small molecule, represses DUX4 levels produced by human FSHD-affected muscle cells in a unique animal model (“in vivo”).
Rooted in, and dedicated to working for the FSHD community, Facio’s business approach is to have a positive impact on lives rather than to maximize financial gain. Since inception, Facio has raised over €16M in equity funding from FSHD-affected families, their friends, FSHD foundations, and Facio’s drug discovery partner, Evotec. Facio’s Board consists of business leaders from the FSHD community – Kees van der Graaf (Chairman; Netherlands), Neil Camarta (Canada), Dave Mackay (USA), Bill Moss (Australia), and Chip Wilson (Canada) – and Evotec’s CSO, Cord Dohrmann (Germany).