Evotec and CHDI began a collaboration in 2006 to work on drug discovery for Huntington’s disease (HD) and since the collaboration has grown with the use of Evotec’s neuroscience platform.
Per this collaboration extension, CHDI will fund more full time scientists at Evotec. A spokesperson from Evotec told us, “Our current contract was up to 55 full time equivalent (FTE), so there is a potential for growth. The extra 20 FTE will be dependent on additional research that CHDI might wish to place with us for new projects or expansion of existing projects.”
Evotec provides CHDI with compound and library management, target validation, stem cell research high content screening, computational chemistry, in vitro pharmacokinetics, proteomics and protein production.
“A big part of the collaboration is providing support for fundamental research in understanding the disease better and focusses on preclinical validation of targets and compounds, as well as development of better model systems and measurements to examine HD,” the spokesperson explained.
Together the companies will work to create a drug candidate for HD, which currently has no cure and no way of delaying symptoms. It is estimated that 30,000 individuals in the US have Huntington’s.
The disease is familial and each child that has a parent that carry’s the mutation has a 50% chance of developing the disease, making 200,000 people in the US at risk.
Evotec is also in collaboration with Centogene on a drug discovery project for rare genetic diseases.
UT study suggests potential therapy for HD
As Evotec and CHDI collaborate on drug development for HD, a study at the University of Texas points to a potential new therapy to control the disease.
Mice carrying the human Huntington gene were given four different dose regiments of Panobinostat, which is used to treat some cancers. The drug is believed to regulate gene expression and treat HD as it may prevent gene changes associated with the expression of the disease. This treatment does not work against the disease itself.
The study – published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. – also found that the disease may actually take effect earlier in life than previously perceived. It was often thought that HD did not have an onset until adulthood, but the study suggests that less clearly defined symptoms were seen in lab mice in an earlier timeframe.