Hope Medicine has a global agreement with Bayer AG to advance the development and commercialization of an antibody targeting the prolactin (PRL) receptor antibody for the treatment of endometriosis and other disorders.
In addition to an upfront payment, the agreement also calls for Bayer to get development and commercialization milestones plus sales royalties.
Higher levels of prolactin are associated with endometriosis in infertile women. The new antibody, which can be administered via injection, is designed to impede the PRL receptor-mediated pathway. The therapy showed efficacy in animal models, including non-human primates, as well as a good safety profile in humans. Hope Medicine plans to start a Phase 2 trial in the United States, China, and Europe.
Current interventions for endometriosis, a chronic gynecological disease featuring the growth of tissue outside the uterus, treat pain and infertility. But pain therapies have side effects such as decreased bone mineral density, which discourage their long-term use.
The startup Hope Medicine was spun from the laboratory of Rui-Ping Xiao at the Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM) at Peking University.
”We are delighted to partner with Bayer to materialize the potential of the PRL receptor antibody based on a longstanding research collaboration and the scientific insights of scientists at IMM and at Bayer in this important pathway toward promising therapies,” Xiao, MD, PhD, founding chief executive officer of Hope Medicine, said in a news release.
The treatment is also designed for female-pattern hair loss and other chronic disorders with dysregulated PRL signaling.
”Having witnessed the significant growth in healthcare needs and scientific and medical research advancement in China in recent years, we are very excited by the growth of China’s healthcare sector and its long-term prospect,” said Feng Ge, managing partner of Trustbridge Partners, a leading global equity firm and founding investor of Hope Medicine.
Said Sam Lou, MBA, co-founder and president of Hope Medicine: “HopeMed is assembling first-class talents in the area of biological sciences, [chemistry, manufacturing and control], and clinical research and operations to unleash the therapeutic potential of the in-licenses antibody.”
An often painful disorder, endometriosis affects up to 10 percent of women of childbearing age globally, and is associated with infertility.