Bayer, Evotec collaborate to develop multiple clinical candidates to treat PCOS
Under the terms of the agreement, Bayer and Evotec will contribute the drug targets and a comprehensive set of high-quality technology platforms to jointly develop innovative treatment options.
New Delhi: Evotec SE and Bayer AG recently announced the expansion of their partnership in women’s health indications with a new five-year, multi-target collaboration to develop multiple clinical candidates for the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome (“PCOS”).
Under the terms of the agreement, both companies will contribute the drug targets and a comprehensive set of high-quality technology platforms to jointly develop innovative treatment options. The strategic alliance will also have access to targets from the recently formed partnership between Celmatix and Evotec. Celmatix is the world leader in big data-driven target discovery focused on fertility and women’s health.
“Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common, underdiagnosed and undertreated disease among women, with several serious co-morbidities. The currently available treatment options are also limited and insufficient,” said Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec. “Our long-term partnership with Bayer and the progression of multiple clinical candidates have been very successful and we look forward to continuing the relationship to deliver novel therapies for the benefit of patients with PCOS.”
“There is a high unmet medical need for women worldwide suffering from PCOS. This new research alliance will perfectly complement Bayer's research activities in the area of women’s health,” said Dr Joerg Moeller, Member of the Executive Committee of Bayer AG’s Pharmaceuticals Division and Head of Research and Development. “We look forward to joining our forces with Evotec in PCOS to develop new treatment options for women living with this often devastating condition.”
Bayer and Evotec will share responsibilities during the pre-clinical development of potential clinical candidates. Bayer will be responsible for any subsequent clinical development and commercialisation. Evotec will receive € 6.5 m upfront payment and € 10 m research payments over five years. In addition, Evotec might be eligible to receive pre-clinical, clinical and sales milestones of potentially over € 330 m as well as royalties up to low double-digit percentages of net sales.
In 2012, Bayer and Evotec entered their first strategic five-year, multi-target alliance. The collaboration was successfully completed resulting in three clinical and one pre-clinical drug candidate currently advancing through development for the treatment of endometriosis. A second research alliance was initiated in 2016 to develop multiple clinical candidates for the treatment of kidney diseases.
PCOS is the most frequent endocrine disorder in women linked to metabolic dysfunction and the most frequent cause of female infertility. 83% per cent of infertility or pregnancy complications may be caused by PCOS. It is estimated that PCOS occurs in 5-10% of women. PCOS has a high unmet medical need due to limited treatment options. PCOS is characterised by high levels of androgens (male hormones such as testosterone) produced in the ovaries, adrenals and fat tissue leading to the typical skin signs of androgen access such as hair loss and acne. Ovarian cysts give the syndrome its name and are associated with an irregular menstrual cycle and the above described infertility. 80% of PCOS patients suffer from obesity and more than half are afflicted with insulin resistance, both driven by this endocrinological disorder. While the underlying cause of PCOS is largely unknown, genomic studies underpin a strong genetic background.
In October 2019, Evotec and Celmatix, a precision medicine company with a proprietary multi-omics platform, announced a partnership to develop pre-clinical programmes in prevalent but underserved conditions affecting women’s reproductive health, including PCOS, endometriosis, and infertility. In this research collaboration, Evotec is responsible for medicinal chemistry, in vitro and in vivo pharmacology, in addition to its broad development capabilities and expertise, while Celmatix contributes novel drug target discovery, powered by its proprietary multi-omics Reproductive Atlas platform. The partnership was expanded in December 2019 with Evotec participating in a funding round.