Domain Associates and Catalys Pacific Launch Exalys Therapeutics to Develop Portfolio of Next-Generation EP4 Antagonists
San Francisco, Calif., July 16, 2020
Company Focused on Developing New Medicines for Postoperative Delirium and Other Inflammatory Disorders
Domain Associates and Catalys Pacific today announced the launch of Exalys Therapeutics Inc. with the closing of a $15 million Series A financing and the licensing of a platform of next-generation EP4 receptor antagonists from Eisai Co. Ltd. in Japan.
The new company is focused on the development of first-in-class therapies for the treatment of inflammatory disorders with an initial target indication of the prevention of postoperative delirium, a serious and potentially life-threatening condition for which there are limited treatment options.
Postoperative delirium is one of the most common surgical complications in older adults, affecting 30% or more of patients over 65 years old undergoing surgery. For these patients, an episode of delirium can lead to a significant decrease in quality of life, prolonged hospitalization, reduced cognitive function and death. The condition is also associated with the acceleration of cognitive decline in patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to the negative impact on elderly patients, postoperative delirium represents an estimated $150 billion in annual increased costs to the U.S. healthcare system.
“Given the profoundly detrimental effect of postoperative delirium on older patients and their extended families, there is an enormous need for new preventive treatments,” said Exalys’ Chief Executive Officer, Rick Orr. “By selectively targeting EP4 to inhibit the immune response that leads to neuroinflammation after surgery, we believe our portfolio of novel EP4 antagonists can provide a safe and effective treatment for postoperative delirium. We plan to rapidly advance our lead candidate through proof of concept with biomarker-supported clinical trials to address this urgent and unmet medical need.”
Exalys’ next-generation EP4 receptor antagonists have best-in-class properties for the treatment of EP4 driven indications. The EP4 receptor is a proven pharmacologic target that can establish neuroinflammatory disorders by controlling the immune response to peripheral inflammation, a major cause of postoperative delirium. The choice of postoperative delirium as a lead indication has clear advantages, including the ease of diagnosis of the disorder and potential for measurement of EP4 antagonist activity through established cytokine biomarkers.
Exalys’ formation reunites a management team led by CEO Rick Orr with longtime biopharma venture investors and company builders Eckard Weber, M.D. and Dennis Podlesak, who have built many successful companies together that ultimately led to numerous new product approvals. Some of the companies on which the group has collaborated over the past 15 years include Peninsula Pharmaceuticals Inc., which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson, Cerexa Inc., which was acquired by Forest Laboratories Inc. (now Allergan plc), Calixa Inc., which was acquired by Cubist Pharmaceutics Inc. (now Merck & Co. Inc.), and Corthera Inc., which was acquired by Novartis.
“Eckard and I are delighted to be working with Rick and his team again with the goal of building another highly successful biopharmaceutical company focused on advancing a portfolio of exceptional new therapeutics,” said Dennis Podlesak, chairman of the Exalys board of directors. “We believe the Exalys platform of EP4 antagonists has the potential to transform the treatment of postoperative delirium and other neuroinflammatory disorders that currently have no meaningful treatment options.”
“Leveraging the unique anti-inflammatory properties of EP4 antagonists to inhibit the inflammatory response to surgery represents a new and innovative approach to preventing postoperative delirium,” said BT Slingsby, M.D., Ph.D., Founder and Managing Partner of Catalys Pacific. “Following this science-driven approach, we are thrilled to launch Exalys and develop a portfolio of highly promising product candidates to address underserved disease areas with significant public health impacts.”
About Exalys Therapeutics
Exalys Therapeutics is focused on developing a portfolio of novel anti-inflammatory therapeutics with best-in-class properties to target a range of diseases with significant unmet need and limited treatment options. Exalys will initially target postoperative delirium, the most common complication of surgery in older patients and a key driver of poor health outcomes. The Exalys portfolio of product candidates has the potential to be applied to a number of other acute and chronic disease states with high societal impacts. Learn more by visiting us at exalystx.com.
About Domain Associates
Founded in 1985, Domain Associates LLC is a venture capital firm with an exclusive focus on life sciences. Domain is headquartered in Princeton, NJ, with a second office in San Diego, CA, and has an investment portfolio comprising some 80 companies.
About Catalys Pacific
Catalys Pacific is an independent venture capital firm focusing on early-stage investments in life sciences. Founded in 2019, the firm’s mission is to focus on providing healthcare solutions for patients worldwide through the creation of and investment in bioventure companies. Catalys Pacific is led by a global team versed in working closely with its partners in academia, biotech, venture capital and the pharmaceutical industry in Japan and worldwide. The firm maintains offices in Tokyo and Kanagawa (Shonan Health Innovation Park), Japan and in San Francisco, California.
Please see Exalys Press Release for more information.
Tel: (212) 845-4271
Travis Kruse, Ph.D.
Tel: (212) 845-4272