The companies also announced they are extending their five-year partnership for another year, to the end of 2018. The two formed the partnership in October 2012. Its main objective was to develop three treatments for the disease before 2018. The companies moved two therapies into preclinical-trial studies in December 2015.
A Phase 1 clinical trial of the first treatment began in August 2016.
Under their agreement, Bayer is responsible for developing and commercializing the therapies. Evotec receives compensation when a therapy attains a development or sales milestone. It will also receive royalties on the sales of any therapies that regulators approve.
“We are proud to have achieved this important milestone” of advancing a second therapy to clinical trials, Dr. Mario Polywka, Evotec’s chief operating officer, said in a press release. “Bringing together our complementary strengths and expertise in one team, we have established a first-in-class endometriosis portfolio of targets for the discovery of promising new medicines. Further projects within the multi-target collaboration are progressing very well, and we are looking forward to continued success.”
Endometriosis involves tissue that normally lines the uterus growing outside of it. It can show up in ovaries, fallopian tubes, in tissue that holds the uterus in place, and in the bowels or bladder. The condition can be quite painful.
Endometriosis treatments include pain medication, hormone therapy and surgery.
A number of companies besides Evotec and Bayer are working on endometriosis therapies.
Neurocrine Biosciences and AbbVie are developing Elagolix (ABT–620) as a treatment for the menstrual and non-menstrual pelvic pain that occurs in women with the condition. ObsEva‘s OBE2109 is a treatment for menstrual bleeding and pain associated with endometriosis and uterine tissue scarring. Myovant Sciences‘ Relugolix treats endometriosis, uterine tissue scarring and hormone-sensitive prostate cancer.