ESSA Pharma snags $49m in funding, Pfizer among the investors

Vancouver, British Columbia-based ESSA Pharma secured US$49 million in a public offering that included investments by the pharmaceutical company's venture capital backers.

Vancouver, British Columbia-based ESSA Pharma secured US$49 million in a public offering that included investments by the pharmaceutical company’s venture capital backers. New investors included Pfizer, Avidity Partners, CAM Capital, Point72, Ridgeback Capital, Sphera Healthcare and Vivo Capital. Existing investors include Blackstone, BVF Partners, Eventide Funds, Omega Funds, RA Capital Management and Soleus Capital. ESSA is focused on developing therapies for the treatment of prostate cancer.

PRESS RELEASE

HOUSTON and VANCOUVER, BC, July 31, 2020 /CNW/ – ESSA Pharma Inc. (“ESSA”, or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: EPIX) (TSX-V: EPI), a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing novel therapies for the treatment of prostate cancer, today announced the closing of an underwritten public offering of 7,100,000 common shares of the Company at a public offering price of US$6.00 per share, before underwriting discounts, for an aggregate offering of approximately US$42.6 million (the “Offering”). ESSA granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1,065,000 common shares (the “Option”), and the underwriters exercised the Option on July 29, 2020. The proceeds to ESSA from the Offering, including the exercise of the Option, were approximately US$45.0 million after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions (such commission being equal to 6% of the aggregate gross proceeds of the Offering) and other estimated offering expenses. Existing investors participated in the financing along with new investors Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), Avidity Partners, CAM Capital, Point72, Ridgeback Capital, Sphera Healthcare and Vivo Capital.

ESSA intends to use the net proceeds of the Offering for pre-clinical and clinical activities, chemistry, manufacturing and controls, research and development, as well as working capital and general corporate purposes. Such proceeds will primarily be used to expand the ongoing Phase 1 dose-escalation and extension studies and allow the potential for conducting multiple combination studies with EPI-7386. The proceeds are also expected to cover initial expenses of the following Phase 2 trial and allow further investment in the Company’s pipeline programs. Based on current Company estimates, the net proceeds from the Offering combined with the Company’s current cash reserves are expected to provide sufficient cash resources through 2023.

Jefferies acted as sole book-running manager for the Offering. Oppenheimer & Co. acted as lead manager for the Offering and Bloom Burton Securities Inc. acted as co-manager for the Offering.

The securities described above were offered by ESSA in the United States pursuant to a shelf registration statement on Form F-3 (File No. 333-225969) that was previously filed by ESSA with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and became effective on July 17, 2018 and in Canada pursuant to ESSA’s Canadian short form base shelf prospectus (the “Canadian Base Shelf Prospectus”) dated July 12, 2018 that was previously filed with the securities regulatory authorities in each of the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.

A preliminary prospectus supplement related to the Offering was filed with the SEC on July 28, 2020, and a final prospectus supplement related to the Offering was filed with the SEC on July 29, 2020, and each are available on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov. A preliminary prospectus supplement to ESSA’s Canadian Base Shelf Prospectus was also filed with the securities regulatory authorities in each of the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario on July 28, 2020 and is available at http://www.sedar.com and a final prospectus related to the Offering was filed with the securities regulatory authorities in each of the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario on July 29, 2020 and is available at http://www.sedar.com.

About ESSA Pharma Inc.
ESSA is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing novel and proprietary therapies for the treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer in patients whose disease is progressing despite treatment with current therapies. The Company filed an IND with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for EPI-7386 in the first calendar quarter of 2020 and clearance was received April 30,2020. A Clinical Trial Application was filed with Health Canada in April 2020 and authorization was received June 3rd, 2020.

About Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the second-most commonly diagnosed cancer among men and the fifth most common cause of male cancer death worldwide (Globocan, 2018). Adenocarcinoma of the prostate is dependent on androgen for tumor progression and depleting or blocking androgen action has been a mainstay of hormonal treatment for over six decades. Although tumors are often initially sensitive to medical or surgical therapies that decrease levels of testosterone, disease progression despite castrate levels of testosterone generally represents a transition to the lethal variant of the disease, mCRPC, and most patients ultimately succumb to the illness. The treatment of mCRPC patients has evolved rapidly over the past five years. Despite these advances, additional treatment options are needed to improve clinical outcomes in patients, particularly those who fail existing treatments including abiraterone or enzalutamide, or those who have contraindications to receive those drugs. Over time, patients with mCRPC generally experience continued disease progression, worsening pain, leading to substantial morbidity and limited survival rates. In both in vitro and in vivo animal studies, ESSA’s novel approach to blocking the androgen pathway has been shown to be effective in blocking tumor growth when current therapies are no longer effective.