Toronto-based Fibrocor Therapeutics has been established by Evotec and MaRS Innovation to develop disease-modifying therapeutics against fibrotic diseases. Fibrocor launches with CND$2.8 million ($2.1 million) financing, including cash from MaRS, which is the commercialization arm for 15 of Ontario's academic institutions, including the University of Toronto and its affiliated research hospitals.
Fibrocor’s scientific founders include Richard Gilbert, Ph.D., and Darren Yuen, Ph.D., at Toronto’s St. Michael Hospital, and Jeff Wrana, Ph.D., at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, who have identified novel fibrosis-related targets and molecular pathways from annotated diseased and healthy human tissues. Fibrocor will work with Evotec to develop a pipeline of first-in-class therapeutics against the most promising targets and pathways. Evotec will provide all drug discovery activities and gains an equity stake in Fibrocor. A lead program has been identified, for which Fibrocor and Evotec anticipate selecting a lead candidate in 2018.
“Fibrosis continues to be an area of huge unmet medical need,” commented Mario Polywka, Ph.D., COO of Evotec. “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.”
Established in 2008, MaRS Innovation is supported by the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Centres of Excellence. The nonprofit organization has a portfolio of more than 60 companies. In November 2016, one of MaRS’s leading portfolio companies, Triphase Accelerator, sold its first investigational anticancer compound, marizomib, to Celgene. “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,” stated Rafi Hofstein, Ph.D., president and CEO of MaRS, commenting on the establishment of Fibrocor. “Through Fibrocor we have created a transformational partnership with Evotec to translate Toronto's world-class fibrosis expertise into therapies for patients worldwide.”
Most recently, in December 2016, MaRS inked a 5-year global partnership agreement with South Korea’s Korea Health Industry Development Institute to facilitate the co-development and commercialization of the two regions’ medical technologies and therapeutics.