Toronto, ON, Jan. 07, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Fibrocor Therapeutics, a privately held Canadian company, and Galapagos NV, a Belgo-Dutch pharmaceutical research company, have announced the formation of a partnership for the development of therapeutics to treat fibrotic diseases of the kidney and other organs.
In 2017 MaRS Innovation founded, and subsequently seed-funded, Fibrocor. The company is based on research from two of MaRS Innovation’s Member institutions, St. Michael’s Hospital and Sinai Health Systems – specifically, from the labs of Drs. Richard Gilbert, Darren Yuen and Jeff Wrana. Their innovative work represents a paradigm shift in drug discovery research by combining a superior genomics platform with a kidney biobank to uncover certain underlying genetic factors which afflict segments of fibrosis patients.
The collaboration promises to be an excellent, strategic fit for both companies: Fibrocor will benefit from the expertise of a global pharma company, allowing it to pursue an accelerated path to drug development and ultimately commercialization of its scientific assets. Galapagos, on the other hand, gains a stronger foothold in the fibrosis field which dovetails nicely with its stated wish of continuing its franchise specifically in lung fibrosis but eventually fibrosis of other organs. The deal will see an agreed-upon upfront payment go to Fibrocor with potential milestone and royalty payments down the road.
“We are enthusiastic about establishing ties with Galapagos through Fibrocor. We believe it will be a great fit for both companies as well as for us and our Member institutions”, says Rafi Hofstein, CEO of MaRS Innovation and Chair of Fibrocor. “Fibrocor works closely with our CRO partner, Evotec GmbH, as well as the scientific teams both in Toronto and in Germany. Galapagos’ commitment to therapeutics for the treatment of fibrosis is perfectly aligned with the core mandate of both Fibrocor and MaRS Innovation. Such close ties to top expertise on many levels will only enhance and strengthen the quality of future drug development in this important and under-served area”
“This partnership validates the fibrosis drug development expertise of Fibrocor as a leading fibrosis drug development company,” says Mark A. Steedman, President and CEO of Fibrocor. “I take my hat off to Dr. Richard Gilbert and the scientific team, including Evotec GmbH, our CRO partner, for establishing a compelling data package that ultimately attracted Galapagos, a world-renowned biotech company with a key franchise in fibrosis. We feel this is the beginning of a great relationship and look forward to working with Galapagos to the benefit of fibrosis sufferers everywhere.”
Spun out of St. Michael’s Hospital and Sinai Health Sytems in Toronto in early 2017, and seed-funded by MaRS Innovation, Fibrocor Therapeutics L.P. represents a new paradigm in drug discovery research as it marries a state of the art genomics platform (developed by Dr. Jeff Wrana) to a kidney biobank (led by Dr. Darren Yuen), ultimately uncovering underlying genetic factors associated with specific clinical populations, and using longitudinal data to uncover rapid progressors of the disease.