Forendo Pharma, a drug development company developing novel oral treatments for endometriosis patients, announces that it has been granted a €3 million R&D loan from Business Finland, for the development of a novel drug for endometriosis treatment. Business Finland is the most important public funding agency for research funding in Finland.
Endometriosis is a chronic condition that affects up to 10% of women in reproductive age and causes repeated pain symptoms, infertility and impaired quality of life. Currently available treatments for endometriosis have limitations in efficacy or cause harmful side effects, due to estrogen depletion. Research findings discovered in Finland have opened new opportunities for targeting endometriotic lesions by inhibiting HSD17B1 enzyme. Forendo Pharma’s lead program, HSD17B1 Inhibitor FOR-6219, is entering phase I studies during second quarter of 2018.
The funding from Business Finland will enable Forendo to strengthen its women’s health portfolio, by progressing its early stage DUAL HSD Inhibitor program, targeting broader gynecological conditions, including endometriosis, into preclinical development. The DUAL HSD Inhibitor compounds, currently in discovery phase, combine two mechanisms of action whereby estrogen inhibition and direct anti-inflammatory effect can be combined locally in target tissues, without affecting systemic hormones.
The DUAL HSD Inhibitor program was initiated in 2016 and Forendo is planning to select the product candidate for further development in 2019.
“The Forendo Pharma programs are expected to bring radical improvements in the treatment of endometriosis. This would impact the wellbeing of tens of millions of women, who now suffer from the disease,” states Director of SMEs, Kari Komulainen, from Business Finland.
“The funding decision of Business Finland has a critical impact on the progress of our DUAL Inhibitor program, in the early stages of drug discovery rising from academic research. Ability to address significant unmet needs in women’s health provide significant commercial opportunities for Forendo Pharma,” states CEO of Forendo Pharma, Risto Lammintausta.