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ESBATech AG announces spin-out of Kinase Inhibitor Programs to form ONCALIS AG
The new company will focus on novel, targeted small molecule cancer therapeutics

Zurich, Switzerland – September 6, 2006 -- ESBATech AG, a developer of antibody fragment therapeutics, today announced the spin-out of its small molecule inhibitor programs to form a new company, Oncalis AG.

Oncalis is currently financed by ESBATech’s Series A investors, including Novartis Venture Fund, BioMedinvest and VI Partners. The spin-out transaction includes the transfer of all small molecule related assets, including a yeast-cell based, high-throughput screening platform for receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), and a number of specific and potent kinase inhibitors.

ESBATech reported that the decision to spin-out its small molecule programs allows the company to focus on one technology platform and drug development strategy of advancing antibody fragment therapeutics into the clinic. Oncalis will now focus on the discovery and development of small molecule inhibitors for oncology indications.

Dominik Escher Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of ESBATech AG, commented 'ESBATech recently completed a USD $41M (CHF 50M) Series B financing round with a leading global venture capital syndicate of investors that enables our first antibody fragment therapeutic candidate, ESBA105, to move into clinical development in several inflammatory indications and to progress additional antibody fragment candidates into clinical development over the next three years.”

Dr. Escher continued, “Moving forward into the clinic with two distinct product classes such as antibody fragments for inflammatory indications and small molecules for oncology require two divergent paths. Therefore, it is an optimal time to form Oncalis with dedicated leadership to focus on small molecule discovery, research and development.'

Oncalis has recruited its core team, including Dr. Alcide Barberis as Chief Executive Officer, from ESBATech, where he was Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Peter Traxler has also joined the company as Vice President of Drug Development. He was formerly an advisor to ESBATech and a key member of the Oncology Research Therapeutic Area Board of Novartis. This core management team will ensure the smooth transfer of ESBATech’s smallmolecule technology and development programs to Oncalis.

Alcide Barberis Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Oncalis AG, added, “I am excited about the opportunity to lead Oncalis at this time. As Chief Scientific Officer of ESBATech, I have been intimately involved in our small molecule program aimed at the development of receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Giving this program the focus and necessary funding will accelerate and maximize the development of our targeted, small molecule cancer therapeutic clinical candidates. I look forward to further developing these programs and potentially other products that can benefit from our unique cell biology expertise.”

Arnd Kaltofen, M.D., MBA, General Partner of VI Partners and Oncalis’ Chairman of the Board commented, “The clear-cut commitment shown by ESBATech’s Series A investors in funding Oncalis’ spin-out from ESBATech signifies the great potential we see in their high-throughput screening technology platform and receptor tyrosine kinase as well as kinase inhibitor development programs transferred to the company. We are confident that Oncalis is well positioned in the targeted small molecular cancer therapeutic area, an area of significant interest to pharmaceutical partners.”

About ESBATech AG
Privately-held ESBATech AG is a Zurich, Switzerland based drug discovery and development company focused on advancing antibody fragments for therapeutic applications. Current venture investors incude SV Life Sciences (SVLS), Clarus Ventures, HBM BioVentures, HBM BioCapital. Novartis Venture Fund, BioMedinvest and VI Partners. For more information about ESBATech, please visit

About Oncalis AG
Oncalis' unique discovery approach involves combining proprietary cutting-edge yeast cell-based technologies with chemistry/medicinal chemistry<

Publisher Contact Information:

+41-1-733 49 00

Company profile of ESBATech AG (acquired by Alcon)
Past press releases of ESBATech AG (acquired by Alcon).


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