Evotec and MaRS Innovation establish strategic partnership to launch Fibrocor Therapeutics


Toronto, Canada and Hamburg, Germany, 17 January 2017: Evotec AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) and MaRS Innovation today announced the launch of Fibrocor Therapeutics LP ("Fibrocor"), a Toronto-based company focused on developing first-in-class therapeutics targeting fibrotic diseases.

he company was launched with CDN $ 2.8 m (approx. $ 2.1 m) 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 MD, PhD, 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, MD, PhD, Nephrologist with St. Michael's and Scientist with its Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science; and Dr Jeff Wrana, PhD, 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 programme 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 programmes 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 industry-leading 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


Fibrocor Therapeutics is focused on developing disease modifying therapeutics in fibrosis. The company's platform is based on discovery of novel targets and dissection of molecular pathways from a well annotated tissue bank of diseased and non-diseased patient samples. As one of the first platforms that discover targets directly from human samples, the company was founded based on the transformational work of Drs. Richard Gilbert and Darren Yuen at St. Michael Hospital and Dr Jeff Wrana at Mount Sinai Hospital all of whom are cross appointed to the University of Toronto. Using this first-in class tissue discovery platform, Fibrocor has partnered with Evotec to develop first-in class therapeutics to novel molecular targets and pathways in fibrosis. 


MaRS Innovation is the commercialization agent for 15 of Ontario's leading academic institutions including the University of Toronto and its affiliated research hospitals, York University, and Ryerson University. Supported by the Government of Canada through the Networks of Centres of Excellence, by the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Centres of Excellence, and by its members, MaRS Innovation is a transformational partnership that turns research strengths into commercial opportunities through industry partnerships, licensing and company creation. MaRS Innovation represents over $1.47 billion of R&D funding annually, a portfolio of 60 companies, $160M in outside risk capital, and is credited with creating over 400 jobs. For more information please visit www.marsinnovation.com. 


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 press release. 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.