News and Information - Press Releases

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2012

(August 28, 2012) Esperance Pharmaceuticals Announces Completion of Run-in Enrollment of Phase 2 Study of EP-100 Plus Paclitaxel in Advanced Ovarian Cancer

(June 4, 2012) Esperance Pharmaceuticals Presents Results From Phase 1 Study of EP-100 in Advanced, Refactory LHRH-Receptor Expressing Solid Tumors at ASCO

(May 17, 2012) Esperance Pharmaceuticals Initiates Phase 2 Clinical Trial of its Novel Membrane-disrupting Agent, EP-100, in Patients with Advanced Ovarian Cancer

(April 3, 2012) Esperance Pharmaceuticals Presents Poster at AACR Annual Meeting Demonstrating Synergy of Lead Candidate EP-100 with Paclitaxel in In Vitro Studies

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2011

(August 8, 2011) Esperance Pharmaceuticals Closes Series B Financing

(June 1, 2011) Esperance Pharmaceuticals Completes $7.5 Million Series B Financing

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2010

(April 20, 2010) Third Candidate from Esperance’s Targeted Anti-cancer Platform, EP-302, Establishes Preclinical Proof of Concept

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2009

(September 10, 2009) Esperance Pharmaceuticals Announces Initiation of Clinical Studies of its Novel Membrane-disrupting Agent, EP-100, in Patients with Cancer

(April 21, 2009) First Candidate from Esperance’s Targeted Anti-cancer Platform, EP-100, Establishes Preclinical Proof of Concept

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2008

(April 24, 2008) First Louisiana Biotech Company Focused on Cancer Announces Opening

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2006

(October 31, 2006) Esperance Pharmaceuticals Closes $9 Million Series A Funding - Esperance Pharmaceuticals Press Release

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Esperance Pharmaceuticals Announces Initiation of Clinical Studies of its Novel Membrane-disrupting Agent, EP-100, in Patients with Cancer - (PDF version)

PRNewswire

BATON ROUGE, La.,(September 10, 2009) Drug discovery and development company Esperance Pharmaceuticals today announced that it has begun enrollment and dosing of patients in a Phase 1 study of EP-100 in patients with advanced solid tumors. EP-100, the lead candidate from Esperance's Cationic Lytic Peptide (CLYP(TM)) platform technology, is a targeted membrane-disrupting peptide (tMDP) designed to seek and destroy cancer cells that over-express luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH) receptors on their surfaces. LHRH receptors are over-expressed in a wide range of cancers including breast, prostate, endometrial, pancreatic, ovarian, skin and testicular cancers.

"We are pleased to have begun human clinical trials of EP-100 as a novel cancer therapeutic candidate with the potential to offer an improved safety and efficacy profile over existing therapies such as radiation or chemotherapy," said Hector Alila, Ph.D., President of Esperance. "Preclinical studies of EP-100 demonstrated this candidate's efficacy across multiple indications in oncology, including aggressive cancers known to be resistant to the current standards of care and, importantly, studies of EP-100's mechanism-of-action support that it targets and selectively kills cancer cells without harming normal cells."

The Phase 1 study is a multi-center, open-label, dose escalating study designed to evaluate the safety, pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties of EP-100. This study will enroll adult patients with solid tumors that over-express LHRH receptors as determined by tumor biopsy. Up to a total of 36 patients that are either refractory to the standard of care or for which no standard of care exists may be enrolled in the study. EP-100 will be administered intravenously for three out of four weeks. Once the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) has been established, additional subjects with specific diagnoses of either breast, ovarian, endometrial, pancreatic or prostate cancer will be enrolled and dosed at the MTD. Additionally, patients with other types of cancer may be added based on activity observed in previous cohorts. More information on the trial can be found at www.clinicaltrials.gov.

Results from pre-clinical studies of EP-100 have shown that the drug regresses established tumors in breast, prostate, ovarian and endometrial cancer xenografts in mice. The results in ovarian cancer were presented at the 2009 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting. In in vivo studies, the efficacy of EP-100 in comparison to saline or untargeted membrane-disrupting peptide or cisplatinum was studied in an ovarian cancer xenograft model (OVCAR-3). EP-100 regressed established OVCAR-3 xenografts following weekly injections at doses as low as 0.2 mg/kg bodyweight (p<0.03 vs. baseline). In comparison, tumor growth was observed across the saline control, untargeted membrane-disrupting peptide and cisplatinum arms. In addition, in the EP-100 arm tumor volumes, weights and CA125 (a clinical biomarker for ovarian cancer) were reduced. LHRH receptor levels were also reduced and PET imaging revealed that EP-100 treated tumors became necrotic, lacking viable tumor cells after treatment. EP-100 was well tolerated in all treated groups.

Esperance is using its CLYP(TM) technology to develop a robust portfolio of novel tMDPs to selectively destroy cancer cells that express target receptors. In addition to EP-100, Esperance has other drug candidates in pre-clinical stages, all of which have a unique targeting mechanism of action whereby candidates bind specifically and exclusively to surface receptors on cancer cells.

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First Louisiana Biotech Company Focused on Cancer Announces Opening - (PDF version)

Baton Rouge, LA - April, 24, 2008): Esperance Pharmaceuticals Inc., a new biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing targeted and selective anticancer agents, announced today the opening of its corporate headquarters and laboratories in the Louisiana Emerging Technology Center, located on the LSU campus. Esperance was founded on a patented technology discovered by scientists at the LSU Pennington Biomedical Research Center, the LSU Ag Center, and the Louisiana State University A&M campus.

Esperance's platform technology is a major technical advance that has great potential for developing more potent and safer drugs that target cancer cells without harming normal cells," said Hector W. Alila, President and Founder of Esperance Pharmaceuticals.  We are focusing on developing a new class of targeted cancer therapies with better efficacy and safety profiles than existing cancer therapies such as radiation or chemotherapy." Research done at Esperance has shown that these drugs are very effective in targeting and destroying both primary tumors and metastases in animal models of cancer.

Initially structured by Louisiana Fund I LP of Baton Rouge, Esperance has secured a $9 million Series A financing that will help it move one of its lead compounds toward early clinical testing.

Co-lead investors with Louisiana Fund I are Themelios Venture Partners LP (Shreveport, La.) and Research Corporation Technologies Inc. (Tucson, Ariz.)

Louisiana Fund I has followed the development of this technology at LSU and we are very excited about the potential of therapeutic drugs for cancer that may come from this technology, said Joseph F. Lovett, Managing General Partner of Louisiana Fund I. We are delighted to have Esperance located in Baton Rouge. It's also significant that Themelios Venture Partners and Research Corporation Technologies, who are quite experienced at investing in the biomedical area, were eager to invest in a start-up biotech company in Louisiana.

Like most scientific breakthroughs, this technology came about initially as a university laboratory surprise," said Dr. John V. Lombardi, LSU System President. Because of the hard work, innovation and scientific collaboration among LSU researchers, there are great hopes that this novel approach to treating cancer will be successful."

The technology was developed by Dr. William Hansel and his collaborators Drs. Fred Enright and Carola Leuschner.

The Esperance laboratories are located in a large wet-lab suite in the Louisiana Emerging Technology Center (LETC) at the Southeast gate to LSU. LETC is a significant investment by the state to encourage the growth of the biotech industry in Louisiana," said Arthur R. Cooper,CEO of the LSU System Research & Technology Foundation. Esperance's choice to open its labs here in Baton Rouge demonstrates that the state's economic development efforts are working well."

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Esperance Pharmaceuticals Closes $9 Million Series A Funding - (PDF version)

October 31, 2006

Esperance Pharmaceuticals Inc., a start-up company developing targeted and selective anticancer agents, has secured a $9 million Series  A financing that will help the company move its lead compound toward early clinical testing.

The Louisiana Fund I LP (Baton Rouge, La.) founded Esperance on technology discovered by researchers at Louisiana State University, the  LSU AgCenter and the LSU Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Co-lead investors with Louisiana Fund I are Themelios Ventures Partners LP (Shreveport, La.) and Research Corporation Technologies Inc.  (Tucson, Ariz.).

Esperance is developing a unique, targeted, anticancer fusion protein that is selectively toxic to cancer cells. Targeting occurs through the designed ligand component that binds singular extracellular receptors on the cancer cell. The potent cytolytic peptide portion of the drug kills the cancer cell. Initial experiments in therapeutic animal models of human cancer showed regression of well-established tumors.

Esperance will use the Series A funding to identify a lead compound, establish an assay to select candidate patients and conduct a proof-of-concept study in humans with cancer. Louisiana Fund I has followed the development of this technology at LSU and we are very excited about the potential of therapeutic drugs for cancer that may come from this technology," said Joseph F. Lovett, managing general partner of Louisiana Fund I. We are delighted to have Esperance located in Baton Rouge. Also, we are looking forward to working with Themelios Venture Partners and Research Corporation Technologies, who are quite experienced at investing in the biomedical area."

Like most scientific breakthroughs, this technology came about initially as a laboratory surprise," said Ross P. Barrett, managing partner of Themelios Venture Partners. Because of the hard work, innovation and scientific collaboration throughout the LSU System of researchers, we feel there is great potential in this novel approach to treating cancer." This technology, if successful, holds the potential of one day relieving the suffering of millions of cancer victims, said Dr. William L. Jenkins, president of the LSU System. The promise of anticancer treatments based on this research is both dazzling and exciting for our scientists and the entire LSU community."

As part of the financing, Lovett, Barrett and RCT's Chad Souvignier, Ph.D., join the Esperance board of directors.

The Louisiana Fund I is an early-stage venture capital fund focused on the identification of investment opportunities emanating from research universities and other organizations in the state of Louisiana. LFI targets companies developing commercially promising technologies with an emphasis on those originating in Louisiana universities, Louisiana companies and companies relocating to Louisiana. Areas of interest include pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, agritechnology, information technology and other high technology opportunities that offer venture capital returns.

Themelios Venture Partners is one of two investment funds managed by VCE Capital Partners LLC (www.vcecapital.com), a Southeast U.S.-based venture capital firm that provides equity capital to early- and expansion-stage companies with proprietary technology platforms or unique products addressing large markets. TVP invests in both life sciences technologies originating from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, and in companies outside of the Pennington Center that run clinical trials or conduct research collaborations with the center.

Research Corporation Technologies
is a technology investment and management company that provides early-stage funding and development for promising biomedical companies and technologies. RCT focuses on technology investments with origins from universities and research institutions worldwide. RCT has assets of more than $300 million to advance technology development through venture investment, partnerships and special licensing programs. The RCT BioVentures program provides venture capital to companies whose technologies have the potential to become significant biomedical products.

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