Evotec, a drug discovery alliance and development partnership company, recently announced that its multi-target endometriosis alliance with Bayer has reached another key pre-clinical milestone. The goal of the collaboration (established in 2012) is to develop three clinical candidates within five years to fight endometriosis. The latest move further moves the transition of a new project from portfolio into pre-clinical development.
Endometriosis affects approximately 176 million women worldwide, according to the Endometriosis Foundation — about 10 percent of women of childbearing age. It is is a highly complex and diverse chronic disease with unmet medical needs for innovative therapies. The disease is characterized by abnormal growth of endometrial tissue (similar to what lines the uterus), that grows outside of the uterine cavity usually on pelvic organs that can include the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and ligaments that support the uterus. The growths can cause ectopic lesions, local inflammation, and debilitating pain.
In addition to obvious physical problems, the disease can impact a patient’s social, professional, and personal life. Women with endometriosis often struggle with depression and emotional distress tied to the uncertainty of diagnosis, unpredictability of symptoms, and inability to lead a normal life.
In December 2015, Evotec announced that its collaboration with Bayer had reached two significant pre-clinical milestones in two projects, moving them into late-stage discovery and pre-clinical development. At the time, Evotec received pre-clinical, clinical, and sales milestones of 580 million euros plus royalties.
In August this year, Evotec received a milestone payment for advancing the first program into Phase 1 clinical development. The most recent milestone marked the fifth candidate to enter pre-clinical development.
The milestone was achieved under the strategic alliance forged in October 2012 and geared to develop three clinical candidates within the five-year alliance (until 2017). Both parties share the responsibility for early research and pre-clinical characterization of potential clinical candidates for endometriosis. Financial details of the milestone payments were not disclosed.
“The portfolio of projects developed together with Bayer within this alliance continues to deliver potential new therapies for the treatment of endometriosis. We are committed to combating this disease and are very pleased that the combined efforts between our two companies have delivered another valuable pre-clinical candidate,” Dr. Mario Polywka, Evotec’s chief operating officer, said in a press release.
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