Esker Therapeutics Announces Management and Research Team Additions to Accelerate Advancement of Precision Immunology Therapies

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO – Esker Therapeutics, a precision medicine company backed by Foresite Capital and incubated by Foresite Labs that is reimagining the discovery, development and treatment of autoimmune disorders, today announced that Martin Babler has joined the company as president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors. Mr. Babler succeeds founding CEO June Lee, M.D., who has transitioned from the company to pursue other opportunities. Dr. Lee will remain on the Foresite Labs scientific advisory board.

“We are pleased to welcome Martin to the Esker team. His depth of experience as a leader in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries will be critical to the long-term success and growth of the company,” said Jim Tananbaum, founder and CEO of Esker lead investor Foresite Capital. “Esker has a meaningful opportunity to transform the future treatment of autoimmune diseases. We are grateful to June for her significant contributions in founding the company and her impactful leadership of Esker to this point. We look forward to building on that foundation and to exciting milestones ahead.”

In addition to Mr. Babler, Esker has expanded its management and research teams to support and accelerate the company’s vision of delivering precision immunology treatments to patients. The appointments include:

  • David Goldstein, Ph.D., chief scientific officer and head of CMC;
  • Roy Hardiman, chief business officer and general counsel;
  • Kenneth Brameld, Ph.D., Esker fellow, head of research;
  • Claire Langrish, Ph.D., senior vice president, immunology and biology;
  • Phil Nunn, Ph.D., senior vice president, pharmacology and project team leader;
  • Mike Taylor, Ph.D., vice president, toxicology; and
  • Victoria Lowell, human resources business partner.

Esker will accelerate the development of precision medicine as a standard of care in immunology by focusing on three strategic pillars. First, Esker is building a pipeline of differentiated immunology therapies based on a deep understanding of biology and insights gained from the company’s precision analytics platform, focused on human genetics. Second, and as an example of that approach, Esker aims to advance its highly selective TYK2 inhibitor program across multiple known and novel indications and augment its clinical pipeline through business development efforts. Finally, Esker will continue to leverage Foresite Labs’ advanced platform for large scale data generation and analysis to gain insights into immunology-associated pathophysiology at the patient, tissue, cellular, sub-cellular and molecular target level.

“I am thrilled to join the Esker team as we work to build the preeminent precision immunology company of the future,” said Mr. Babler. “The mission of Esker is bold, and we have the resources and now an expanded team with a proven track record of building and leading successful companies as well as advancing several molecules from discovery into the clinic. Leveraging the team’s deep expertise, we will build on our existing assets and further expand a pipeline of molecules against immunology targets of interest based on our analytical insights. I am excited to partner with this exceptional team and our board of directors to advance our programs and foundational science so that we may bring meaningful treatments to patients.”

Esker’s pipeline is led by ESK-001, a highly selective TYK2 inhibitor with greater selectivity for TYK2 over JAK1 compared to current therapies in clinical development, which is being developed for the treatment of psoriasis. Foresite Capital sourced the program, which was incubated by Foresite Labs and shepherded into first in human clinical trials by Foresite Capital. It is now fully owned by Esker and being evaluated in a Phase 1 clinical trial in healthy volunteers. Beyond ESK-001, Esker’s pipeline is focused on delivering additional discovery-stage assets impacting the causal drivers of multiple autoimmune disease indications.

About Esker Therapeutics

Esker is a precision medicines company looking to eliminate the “all comer” approach that is seen with today’s treatments for people with autoimmune disease. Even with innovation of the last decade, many patients continue to cycle through the approved therapies while continuing to look for the right therapy to alleviate the impact of their disease without life-impacting side effects. Esker leverages a precision analytics platform, powered by Foresite Labs, coupled with a team of experts with deep experience in precision medicine drug discovery, development and immunology, in order to create medicines that change the lives of people with autoimmune disease. For more information, please visit

About Foresite Labs

Foresite Labs incubates companies that will address some of our greatest unmet medical needs. Their experienced team of scientists, engineers, and operators believes that the tools of data science, when applied with scientific rigor, will greatly accelerate scientific discovery and the development of new products and services that benefit patients. Through its incubation platform, Foresite Labs is dismantling the barriers faced by visionary entrepreneurs and their companies as they seek to re-invent healthcare. For more information, visit

Dan Budwick, 1AB