Established in October 2012, the companies’ strategic partnership was aimed at developing three clinical treatment candidates for endometriosis within five years. Their work has generated six nonhormonal therapy candidates, two of which have already entered Phase 1 trials.
After extending their partnership another year to the end of 2018, the companies have now achieved their goal with this new small molecule being the third compound approved to enter human clinical studies.
“Since we began collaborating with Bayer in 2012, the joint teams have combined cutting-edge science, significant drug discovery expertise, and a shared commitment to bring new therapeutic options to the millions of women suffering from endometriosis,” Mario Polywka, PhD, chief operating officer of Evotec, said in a press release. “Today, we have delivered on our very high expectations with the advancement of our third novel drug candidate into Phase 1 studies to treat this high unmet medical need. Bayer is a great partner and we look forward to further advancing our endometriosis pipeline.”
Both companies actively contributed to the selection and preclinical characterization of the therapeutic potential of the therapies. The compounds were designed and developed to specifically target endometriosis-related inflammation and pain perception at the same time.
“In our approach, we want to treat the site of inflammation directly and at an early stage, but also minimize the resulting pain perception,” Thomas M. Zollner, MD, head of the Gynecological Therapies Research Department at Bayer HealthCare, said in a company communication release.
Under the terms of the agreement, Bayer will be responsible for the therapies’ clinical development and commercialization upon approval. Evotec will receive compensation for each clinical and sales milestone achieved, as well as royalties on sales of the treatments.
“We hope that these newly discovered drugs will work faster than previous, hormone-based endometriosis medications,” said Matthias Schäfers, MD, clinical head of Gynecological Therapies at Bayer HealthCare.