Evotec AG and Facio Therapies have entered into an agreement aimed at the identification of compounds showing activity as a potential treatment to stop the progression of FSHD (Facioscapulohumeral dystrophy), a muscle wasting disease. This agreement marks the start of finding a drug to overcome FSHD.
The project with Facio entails the set-up and execution of an automated high-throughput screen to identify small molecules having a positive effect on SMCHD1 and DUX4 activity in human FSHD-affected muscle cell lines. The compounds that show promising activity in this screen are expected to be available in the first half of 2016. These compounds will require extensive further testing to produce compounds that are suitable for the development of a therapeutic for the treatment of FSHD. All in all, this is a challenging process that may take several years before clinical testing in humans can begin.
"The start of our drug discovery programme is a significant step forward in our pursuit to overcome FSHD", said Facio's Managing Director David Dasberg. "Evotec is a leader in the field of drug discovery and their expertise with muscle tissue will allow us to move forward as fast as possible."
Dr Mario Polywka, Chief Operating Officer of Evotec, commented: "We are very excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Facio on this important disease. With our world-leading expertise in tissue analysis and high-throughput screening we are confident to add real value to the progression of this programme."
No financial details were disclosed.