Sanofi backs Escient’s $77.5M round as it kick-starts first clinical test

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Escient Pharmaceuticals has grabbed a meaty $77.5 million series B with the help of Sanofi’s VC arm as the biotech also starts its first in-human tests.

The San Diego biotech came onto the scene back in 2018 with $40 million in series A funding to develop novel G protein-coupled receptor-targeted drugs for a wide range of indications. The startup’s first focus was on neuro-immuno-inflammatory and autoreactive diseases.

Now, it’s second funding round has nearly doubled from its first, giving it the cash to start a phase 1 for its leading drug EP547, a MRGPRX4-targeted product candidate to treat cholestatic and uremic pruritus, a form of severe itching resulting from liver or kidney disease.