Essa Pharma is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the development of novel therapies for the treatment of prostate and other hormone-driven cancers. The company was founded with technology licensed from The University of British Columbia and the BC Cancer Agency. With a focus on the development of small molecule drugs for the treatment of cancer, the goal at Essa is to develop a pipeline of oncology therapeutics.
Essa reported a productive period for the second quarter in 2021. For instance, the company continued to advance their lead product candidate EPI-7386 in an ongoing Phase 1 trial in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Essa recorded a net loss of $13.0 million. The increased R&D expenditures of $7.3 million were primarily related to the increased expenditures on chemistry and manufacturing of the drug product. In addition, Essa had available cash reserves and short-term investments of $208 million reflecting the gross proceeds of the February 2021 financing of $150 million and July 2020 financing of $48.9 million.
TREATMENT OF HORMONE-DRIVEN CANCER
Prostate cancer is the 2nd most common cause of male cancer deaths. Over $7.5B in global sales were generated in 2019 by leading anti-androgens. Essa had developed a new class of drugs, the “anitens”. These drugs interrupt androgen-driven biology in a novel manner and are active even in the setting of resistance to current anti-andorgan therapies. As the company enters into clinical development, they look to partner with patient advocacy organizations. Relating to this, Essa announced in April 2021 a clinical collaboration with Bayer to evaluate EPI-7386 in combination with Bayer’s androgen receptor inhibitor Darolutamide. Under the terms of the agreement, Bayer may sponsor and conduct a Phase ½ study to evaluate the safety, pharmacokinetics and efficacy of the combination of EPI-7386 and Darolutamide in mCRPC patients. The clinical study is expected to start in the second half of calendar 2021.