Evotec and MaRS Innovation have teamed to launch Fibrocor Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company that will be dedicated to developing treatments for fibrotic diseases, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
Fibrocor received $2.1 million in financing, including cash from MaRS Innovation, the commercialization arm for 15 academic institutions in Ontario, Canada. Evotec will contribute to drug discovery, and will receive an equity stake in the company.
“Through Fibrocor we have created a transformational partnership with Evotec to translate Toronto’s world-class fibrosis expertise into therapies for patients worldwide,” Rafi Hofstein, PhD, MaRS Innovation’s president and CEO, said in a news release. “We are building on our recent success … in the area of oncology and applying it to a new therapeutic cluster in the area of fibrosis.”
Fibrocor’s co-founders include Richard Gilbert, MD, PhD, head of endocrinology at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto; Darren Yuen, MD, PhD, a nephrologist at St. Michael’s and a scientist at its Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science; and Jeff Wrana, PhD, senior investigator at Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health System.
The company, which will be based in Toronto, will mostly focus on developing drugs that have the potential to prevent, delay, and possibly cure fibrosis. It will have access to tissue banks containing healthy and diseased patient samples, which it will use to identify disease-relevant targets, and will collaborate with Evotec to develop drug therapies and create a pipeline of potential molecules.
It aims to partner with its academic co-founders to expand access to tissue samples to several organs, including lung, intestine, kidney, skin and liver.
Fibrocor expects to present a lead drug candidate as soon as next year.
“Fibrosis continues to be an area of huge unmet medical need,” said Mario Polywka, Evotec’s chief operating officer. “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.”