Drug company Evotec has entered into three novel research projects aimed at coming up with new discoveries for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis.

Supported by research funds from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the projects are aimed at bringing new drugs to market.MS global risk

They have arisen out of work done by the Deutsches RheumaForschungszentrum, an institute of the Leibniz Association, Professor A. Hamann and the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf .

Evotec will help identify and commercialise drug candidates to tackle MS and the three projects will run for between one and a half and three years and comprise a total budget of about EUR 5m.

Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec, said: “These novel approaches to fight MS, the disease with the highest socioeconomic impact worldwide, perfectly fit to our EVT Innovate strategy to approach disease-modifying innovation and to identify first-in-class molecules eagerly sought for by the biotech and pharmaceutical industry.

“We are proud to partner with these leading German research institutions and groups to translate their exceptional disease know-how into drug candidates and furthermore into novel products.”

Multiple sclerosis is one of the most common diseases of the central nervous system and more than two million people around the world suffer from it.

MS is an inflammatory and neurodegenerative disease in which the insulating covers of nerve cells (myelin sheath) in the brain and spinal cord are damaged.

This damage disrupts the ability of parts of the nervous system to communicate, resulting in a wide range of signs and symptoms, including physical, mental, and sometimes psychiatric problems.

MS takes several forms, with new symptoms either occurring in isolated attacks (relapsing forms) or building up over time (progressive forms).

multiple-sclerosis-diagramBetween attacks, symptoms may disappear completely but permanent neurological problems often occur, especially as the disease advances.

MS is usually diagnosed based on the presenting signs and symptoms and the results of supporting medical tests.

There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis and treatments attempt to improve function after an attack and prevent new attacks.

Evotec is a drug discovery alliance and development partnership company focused on rapidly progressing products products leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

It has long-term alliances with partners including Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, CHDI, Genentech, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, MedImmune/AstraZeneca, Roche and UCB.

*American company Biogen Idec has announced that five-year results from the ENDORSE Phase 3 extension study show that Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) provides strong and efficacy in a broad range of people living with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).

The safety profile remained consistent with no new or worsening safety signals across patients in the ENDORSE study who received Tecfidera, including some patients who were treated for up to seven and a half years.

Alfred Sandrock, M.D., Ph.D., group senior vice president and chief medical officer at Biogen Idec, said: “Tecfidera continues to provide patients with effective oral treatment for MS that is supported by a growing body of data reinforcing its benefits and favorable safety profile.

“These new ENDORSE results provide further insight into the positive impact of using Tecfidera early in the course of MS and for long-term treatment of this chronic disease.”