Evotec and Bayer began their collaboration in October 2012 to develop three clinical treatment candidates for endometriosis within five years.
So far, the collaboration has yielded six non-hormonal therapy candidates, with three advancing to Phase 1 studies, Evotec announced in August 2016, July 2017, and April 2018. The fourth candidate has now entered Phase 1 testing.
“We are very pleased that the excellent collaboration between Bayer and Evotec has now officially surpassed the ambitious initial target by delivering a fourth clinical drug candidate,” Werner Lanthaler, CEO of Evotec, said in a press release. “The candidates we have identified and developed together are performing extremely well and hold great potential, most likely also beyond the initially surveyed indications.”
Both Evotec and Bayer contribute to the selection and preclinical (in the lab) characterization of the therapy candidates. The therapies are designed to simultaneously act on endometriosis-related inflammation and pain perception.
Under the terms of the collaboration, Bayer will be responsible for clinical development and commercialization upon treatment approval.
Evotec will receive a milestone payment of 2 million euros (around $2.2 million US) once dosing begins in the Phase 1 trial. The company may also receive royalties on clinical and sales milestones, depending on future progress in clinical development and approval of the potential therapy candidates.
Endometriosis involves the growth of endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, happening elsewhere in the body. It can show up in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, in tissue that holds the uterus in place, and in the bowels or bladder. The condition can be quite painful. Treatments include pain medication, hormone therapy, and surgery.
The strategic partnership between Bayer and Evotec aims to develop novel treatment options for endometriosis.
“Over a period of 5 years and with an investment of about €90 million [$99 million] to date, within a performance-based business model between Bayer and Evotec, six pre-clinical candidates were generated, three of which have initiated first-in-human clinical trials,” Bayer and Evotec executives wrote in a white paper publication.
“The Bayer-Evotec alliance has delivered first-in-class science together with productivity improvements and has opened significant future opportunities for improved treatment options for women suffering with endometriosis,” they added.