Growing FSHD community support for FacioLeiden, the Netherlands - November 14, 2016
Facio Therapies announced today that the Dutch FSHD Foundation (FSHD Stichting) and the FSHD Canada Foundation have joined its shareholder base, which already included the FSHD Global Research Foundation and FSHD-affected families. New and existing investors together provided over €865,000 (about US$960,000) in new equity funding.
Facio’s Chairman, Kees van der Graaf, noted that to date Facio has successfully raised €3.3+ million (about US$3.7 million) in equity from FSHD-affected families, their friends, and FSHD foundations. “We are very proud to see more and more members of the FSHD community come together to support the pursuit of our singular goal: the development of a causal therapy for FSHD,” he added.
Facio recently reported the development of the first-ever DUX4 screening platform, which it is now using to generate series of compounds (“hits”) able to repress the production of the muscle-toxic DUX4 protein in cultured cells derived from FSHD-affected muscle biopsies. Over the next few months, these hits will be subjected to rigorous testing to maximize the probability of ultimate success in patients.
David Dasberg, Facio’s Managing Director: “We have now begun to build a sound basis for reaching our next major goal – developing compounds that we can take into clinical trials. We are working very hard to get there as quickly as possible, but quality comes first for us. Because our mission is to serve the FSHD community, we have not and will not cut corners.”
About the FSHD Stichting
The Dutch FSHD Foundation stimulates, facilitates, and financially supports solid scientific research into the causes of FSHD, in order to find treatments and develop solutions that help improve patients’ quality of life.
About the FSHD Canada Foundation
The singular goal of the FSHD Canada Foundation is to help find a cure – as soon as possible – for Canadians who suffer with FSHD. To accomplish this the Foundation aims to reach out to all Canadians to make them aware of what is going on in FSHD research and to solicit financial support for the critical research required to find a cure. The Foundation will then use these funds to support FSHD research – in Canada and around the world.
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).