Evotec/HSCI Form Collaboration To Advance ALS Research
Espicom View : Although early stage, this is another example of the increasingly common pairing of pharma with academia to accelerate promising research from the laboratory to the clinic, populate company pipelines and minimise internal R&D expenditure. Riluzole, sold by Sanofi as Rilutek and generically available, is the first and only medication approved by the FDA for slowing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and the majority of people with the disease die within three to five years from the onset of the symptoms. With such limited treatment options and an unmet medical need, a successful collaboration could be very lucrative for Evotec.
Evotec has formed a strategic partnership with Harvard University's Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) to identify compounds that prevent or slow down the loss of motor neurons, which is characteristic of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS; Lou Gehrig's disease).
The collaboration 'CureMN' (CureMotorNeuron) will leverage human motor neuron assays based on ALS patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells that were developed by Dr Lee Rubin, HSCI Principal faculty member and professor in the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard, and Dr Kevin Eggan, Early Career Scientist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, HSCI Principal faculty member and professor in the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard, as well as Evotec's drug-discovery infrastructure and expertise to identify compounds that will have therapeutic value against this disease.