Hamburg, Germany, and Toronto, Canada, 15 February 2018: Evotec AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) and MaRS Innovation announced today that they have identified the first project to be developed under their LAB150 partnership.
After signing a collaboration agreement in September 2017, the first project within this academic BRIDGE has now been identified. The project aims to develop kallikrein-targeting compounds as novel topical drugs for the rare but severe inflammatory skin disease ‘Netherton Syndrome’ as well as the broader disorder atopic dermatitis. Skin kallikreins are expressed in the outer layer of the human skin and represent an attractive target. Extensive research over many years from the laboratory of Dr Eleftherios P. Diamandis at Mount Sinai Hospital, part of Sinai Health System in Toronto, has shown that excessive activity of kallikreins is central to the development of skin inflammation.
Approximately 2-5% of the general population and 20-30% of newborns suffer from skin inflammatory diseases, which significantly impede their quality of life. Current options are limited to general immune-suppressants (steroids) or systemic anti-inflammatory biologics.
“There is a clear unmet medical need for the development of novel topical drugs that can prevent inflammation before it becomes full-blown, especially in the paediatric population”, mentions Dr Ioannis Prassas, one of the co-investigators on this project along with Drs Diamandis and Antoninus Soosaipillai.
The team has completed a series of drug screening activities which have led to the identification of some very promising novel kallikrein inhibitors.
“We are very excited to team up with renowned partners like Evotec and MaRS Innovation under the LAB150 partnership. Access to capital, Evotec’s world-class drug discovery infrastructure and MaRS Innovation’s commercialisation expertise is a recipe for success”, says Dr Diamandis.
Dr Rafi Hofstein, President & CEO of MaRS Innovation, says: “We are excited to propel this project through LAB150 – an important bridge for our members. The outcome of the project out of the Diamandis lab is a potential game changer for the health of many children, with stellar foundational scientific technology to be the inaugural LAB150 project.”
Dr Werner Lanthaler, CEO of Evotec, comments: “Following the positive outcome of further drug discovery efforts that are conducted jointly at Evotec and at Dr Diamandis’ lab, the foundation of a new company is planned in order to make these therapies available to patients in the most efficient and effective manner through LAB150.”