SOLVE FSHD invests in Epic Bio for the development of a novel treatment for Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy
Investment will further accelerate the development of EPI-321
VANCOUVER, B.C., April 18, 2023 – SOLVE FSHD, a venture-philanthropic organization catalyzing the pace of innovation to accelerate a cure for FSHD, announced today an investment in Epic Bio, a biotechnology company focused on the epigenome of complex diseases.Epic Bio is developing novel therapies that dynamically control gene expression to treat these diseases using compact, non-cutting dCas proteins.
This investment will support development of Epic’s lead program EPI-321, a novel therapeutic that is designed to correct the epigenetic alterations in the D4Z4 region of chromosome 4.Epic’s unique approach to correct the molecular pathology implicated in Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD) should lead to an effective treatment that prevents further muscle degeneration and thereby slows disease progression.
“SOLVE FSHD is very pleased to partner with Epic Bio and to add them to our diverse portfolio of companies rapidly moving forward potential therapies for FSHD,” stated Eva Chin, Executive Director of SOLVE FSHD. “SOLVE FSHD identified Epic Bio as a company committed to finding a cure for this debilitating condition and we were impressed by the unique approach that the company is taking to alter the epigenetic cause of the disease.We expect that the support from SOLVE FSHD will allow Epic Bio to rapidly progress EPI-321 into clinical trials”.
“Epic Bio welcomes the investment by SOLVE FSHD and we appreciate their important support for the future development of EPI-321,” added Amber Salzman, Chief Executive Officer of Epic Bio.“SOLVE FSHD is rapidly becoming the partner of choice for companies developing FSHD treatments, so their investment provides strong validation of the Epic Bio GEMS platform and the EPI-321 program.”
“Today we are very happy to add another company to the SOLVE FSHD portfolio” noted Chip Wilson, founder and chairman of the Board of SOLVE FSHD. “More importantly, EPI-321 represents another potential treatment for FSHD, a devastating condition that I and many others like me suffer with every day”.
Terms of the investment were not disclosed.
About Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy
Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is an autosomal dominant muscular dystrophy, although thirty percent of new FSHD patients have no prior family history of the disease and result from a congenital spontaneous genetic mutation. FSHD typically first presents with weakness of the muscles of the facial muscles and scapular region, with proximal weakness of the pectoral and abductor muscles limiting upper extremity function at the shoulder girdle. Onset is typically in the teenage and early adult years, but it can present in infancy, which tends to be a more aggressive course. The disease is slowly progressive and approximately 20% of patients are wheelchair bound by age 50. Currently there are no treatments specifically indicated for use in FSHD, with no disease-modifying treatments available.
About SOLVE FSHD
SOLVE FSHD is a venture philanthropic organization established to catalyze innovation and accelerate key research in finding a cure for FSHD. Established by renowned Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist Chip Wilson, widely known as the founder of lululemon and part owner of Amer Sports which holds renowned brands such as Arc’teryx, Salomon and Wilson Sports. Chip has committed $100 million to kick-start funding into projects that support the organization’s mission to find a cure for FSHD by 2027. The goal of SOLVE FSHD is to find a solution that can stop muscle degeneration, increase muscle regeneration and strength, and improve the quality of life for those living with FSHD.If you have FSHD and want to find out about clinical trials or be included in the FSHD registry, please see Solve FSHD’s website - https://solvefshd.com/
About Epic Bio
Epic Bio is a leading epigenetic engineering company, leveraging the power of CRISPR without cutting DNA. The company is using its proprietary Gene Expression Modulation System (GEMS) to develop therapies. Through the company’s library of the most compact Cas DNA-binding proteins to work on human cells, the company is developing in vivo therapies with delivery via a single AAV vector. Epic Bio has an initial focus on Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD) and is conducting additional research to address Antitrypsin Deficiency (A1AD), Heterozygous Familial Hypocholesterolemia (HeFH), as well as other indications. The company is financially backed by Horizons Ventures and other leading investors. Visit www.epic-bio.com for more information or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.