- Evotec to participate in Facio Therapies' 2017 funding round alongside members of the FSHD community (total volume: EUR 4.8 m)
- Evotec expands its efforts in using patient-derived disease models to identify and develop disease-modifying therapies in areas of high unmet medical need
Hamburg, Germany, 20 June 2017: Evotec AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) announced today that it will make a strategic investment as part of Facio Therapies' ("Facio") 2017 funding round together with Australian, European and North American members of the Facioscapulohumeral dystrophy ("FSHD") community (Total volume: EUR 4.8 m). Evotec is extending its ongoing drug discovery partnership with Facio and will carry out all discovery work. Through this investment, Evotec enters the field of musculoskeletal diseases via a very focused programme in FSHD, a disease of substantial unmet medical need affecting an estimated 700,000 people worldwide.
Facio, a privately owned company based in Leiden, Netherlands, solely focuses on finding a safe, effective, and affordable cure for FSHD. FSHD is a progressive muscle-wasting disease and there is currently no treatment option available. The key event in FSHD is the undue expression of the so-called DUX4 protein in skeletal muscle, which leads to muscle atrophy and oxidative stress. Since 2015, Facio and Evotec have been collaborating to identify DUX4-repressing small-molecule compounds as a potential treatment to stop the progression of FSHD. As part of the partnership, drug discovery efforts performed at Evotec have been based on screening patient-derived primary cells in a high-throughput manner.
Facio will use the proceeds of the funding to further accelerate its small-molecule DUX4 repressors towards the selection of pre-clinical lead candidates.
Kees van der Graaf, Facio's Chairman, said: "We are extremely pleased that Evotec, our drug discovery partner and a recognised global leader in its field, has decided to join our shareholder base together with an ever growing number of FSHD community leaders. This funding will enable us to make further strides towards bringing a badly needed therapy to people with FSHD."
Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec, commented: "We are very excited about working together with Facio in FSHD, a devastating disease with a high unmet medical need. Using a unique patient-centric approach, we jointly intend to identify and develop drug candidates with disease-modifying properties. Combining Facio's very focused management team with our proven drug discovery platforms is a highly effective model for both Facio and Evotec to bring forward projects with first-in-class potential and perfectly fits to Evotec's equity strategy."