Hamburg, Germany - 29 April 2015: Evotec AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) and Facio Therapies ("Facio") announced today that they have entered into an agreement aimed at the identification of compounds showing activity as a potential treatment to stop the progression of FSHD (Facioscapulohumeral dystrophy), a muscle wasting disease. This agreement marks the start of finding a drug to overcome FSHD.
The project with Facio entails the set-up and execution of an automated high-throughput screen to identify small molecules having a positive effect on SMCHD1 and DUX4 activity in human FSHD-affected muscle cell lines. The compounds that show promising activity in this screen are expected to be available in the first half of 2016. These compounds will require extensive further testing to produce compounds that are suitable for the development of a therapeutic for the treatment of FSHD. All in all, this is a challenging process that may take several years before clinical testing in humans can begin.
"The start of our drug discovery programme is a significant step forward in our pursuit to overcome FSHD", said Facio's Managing Director David Dasberg. "Evotec is a leader in the field of drug discovery and their expertise with muscle tissue will allow us to move forward as fast as possible."
Dr Mario Polywka, Chief Operating Officer of Evotec, commented: "We are very excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Facio on this important disease. With our world-leading expertise in tissue analysis and high-throughput screening we are confident to add real value to the progression of this programme."
No financial details were disclosed.
FSHD (Facioscapulohumeral dystrophy) is a muscle wasting disease, worldwide devastating the lives of over half a million people and those close to them. The loss of muscle strength has a huge impact on daily life. Living with FSHD means living with pain, fatigue and social isolation. Above all, the future becomes uncertain because the course of the disease is unpredictable. About 20% of people with FSHD end up in a wheelchair. Currently, no therapy for FSHD is available other than forms of temporary symptomatic relief.
ABOUT FACIO THERAPIES
Facio Therapies, established in 2014, is a Netherlands-based company with a single focus - to overcome FSHD by developing a causal therapy that restores the repression of toxic DUX4. Facio works with leaders in the field to develop an affordable and accessible causal therapy for as many people with FSHD and in the most expeditious fashion possible. Being by and for people with FSHD, the business approach is to have a positive impact on lives rather than maximize financial gain. Facio's founders - Kees van der Graaf (Netherlands), Bill Moss (Australia), and Neil Camarta (Canada) - are business leaders from the FSHD community. For more information on Facio, please visit www.facio-therapies.com.
FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
Information set forth in this press release contains forward-looking statements, which involve a number of risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent the judgement of Evotec as of the date of this report. Such forward-looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, and which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements. We expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any such statements to reflect any change in our expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.