Karolinska Development today announced that it will invest in Forendo Pharma Oy, a company based on research from the University of Turku that is developing novel treatments for endometriosis and for low testosterone levels. In the first round of investment, Karolinska Development has invested EUR 1.2m in the company resulting in an ownership of 21%*.
Forendo Pharma is developing a potential new treatment of endometriosis based on inhibition of the 17β-HSD1 enzyme, a novel drug target with potential for tissue/organ specific regulation of hormone activity. Endometriosis is a common disease, affecting up to 10% of young and middle-aged women worldwide and causing painful symptoms and infertility. This project is currently in pre-clinical development.
The company is also developing fispemifene, a potential new treatment for patients with low testosterone levels. This oral treatment offers several possible benefits over current therapies, including the potential to maintain male fertility. In contrast to testosterone replacement therapy, fispemifene stimulates the testicular function in men. Fispemifene has demonstrated efficacy in Phase II clinical studies. Forendo Pharma will seek partners for this program to go forward.
“We see this as an excellent opportunity to invest in a drug development program which has the potential to provide endometriosis patients with an entirely new effective and well tolerated treatment expected to have many benefits compared to current treatment options. In parallel we will support the process of finding a partner for the further development of fispemifene”, says Torbjörn Bjerke, CEO of Karolinska Development.
“We are delighted over Karolinska Development’s engagement as one of our significant owners, as it provides Forendo Pharma with access to further drug development expertise and a broadened international network. The investment will provide sufficient funding to take the endometriosis project through to proof-of-concept as well as increased business development activities around fispemifene”, says Risto Lammintausta, CEO of Forendo Pharma.