Evotec and MaRS Innovation have announced the launch of Fibrocor Therapeutics, a Toronto-based company focused on developing first-in-class therapeutics targeting fibrotic diseases. The company was launched with CDN $2.8 million (approx. $ 2.1 million) financing, which includes cash from MaRS Innovation. Evotec will provide all drug discovery activities and will also receive an equity stake.
Fibrocor takes a new approach to understanding and treating fibrosis, bringing together clinical expertise and access to disease tissue with high-throughput molecular analysis infrastructure and expertise in clinically-predictive animal models of fibrosis.
The company is co-founded with leading academic and clinician scientists from world-class academic institutions in Toronto, including Dr. Richard Gilbert M.D., Ph.D., Canada Research Chair in Diabetic Complications and Head of Endocrinology at St. Michael's Hospital and Scientist with the hospital's Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science; Dr. Darren Yuen, M.D., Ph.D., Nephrologist with St. Michael's and Scientist with its Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science; and Dr. Jeff Wrana, Ph.D., Senior Investigator at Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health System. The academic/clinical team is complemented by management and business development from MaRS Innovation and drug discovery and development services from Evotec.
"Through Fibrocor we have created a transformational partnership with Evotec to translate Toronto's world-class fibrosis expertise into therapies for patients worldwide," said Dr. Rafi Hofstein, president and CEO of MaRS Innovation. "We are building on our recent success of Triphase in the area of oncology and applying it to a new therapeutic cluster in the area of fibrosis."
The company's core focus will be to develop novel therapeutics that have the potential to prevent, slow and ultimately reverse the course of fibrosis. Fibrocor has already identified a lead program and will partner with Evotec to develop novel molecules with the anticipation of nominating a lead candidate in 2018. In addition, Fibrocor will collaborate with its academic co-founders to expand access to tissue samples to include several relevant tissues, such as lung, liver, kidney, colon and skin. Fibrocor will seek to identify novel targets and molecular pathways that are identified from and validated in clinical samples from individuals with the targeted disease for follow-on drug discovery and development programs in fibrosis, generating a robust pipeline of novel therapeutic targets that it will subsequently work with Evotec on.
"Fibrosis continues to be an area of huge unmet medical need. Combining Fibrocor's ability to identify novel disease relevant targets and Evotec's drug discovery platform should greatly increase the probability of delivering effective medicines for patients. We are delighted to be a part of the launch of Fibrocor together with MaRS Innovation and look forward to working with our new partners in this exciting venture," said Dr Mario Polywka, chief operating officer of Evotec.