Bayer and University of Oxford in strategic alliance to develop innovative treatments for endometriosis

Bayer HealthCare and the University of Oxford have entered into a strategic research alliance in the area of gynaecological therapies – specifically endometriosis and uterine fibroids – with the goal of discovering and developing innovative treatment options for these two diseases.

There is a high unmet medical need for innovative therapies for both endometriosis and uterine fibroids, as there is no known curative drug treatment available and the current therapies reveal certain limitations.

This new partnership with one of the world’s leading institutions brings together the drug development expertise at Bayer with the disease and target expert knowledge at the University of Oxford,

said Professor Dr Andreas Busch, Member of the Bayer HealthCare Executive Committee and Head of Global Drug Discovery.

The collaboration provides us with the opportunity to jointly develop novel treatment options for women suffering from these debilitating diseases. This collaboration draws on the particular skill sets of each partner in the development of innovative new therapies that could benefit millions of women around the world, and shows Oxford’s commitment to work jointly with industry to develop novel medicines,

says Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

Under the terms of the agreement both parties will contribute innovative drug targets and high quality technology infrastructures. Furthermore, Bayer and the University of Oxford will share responsibilities from basic research to early clinical trials in these two diseases.

Research projects will be jointly performed at the University of Oxford and Bayer HealthCare R&D Centre in Berlin, Germany. The collaboration will be for an initial period of two years but is open for extension for up to five years. Bayer is eligible to license both targets and potential drug candidates exclusively and will then be responsible for any subsequent clinical development and commercialisation. The University of Oxford will receive undisclosed milestone and royalty payments depending on the successful development and approval of potential drug candidates.

Dr Christian Becker, Co-Director of the Oxford Endometriosis CaRe Centre, clinician scientist and Clinical Lead in the alliance, said:

This translational research programme is an exciting opportunity and fits entirely with the central aim of our centre, to integrate patient care of the highest standard with cutting-edge scientific research. With our dedicated and highly skilled clinical and research team we are hoping to make a real difference for patients suffering from endometriosis and fibroid related symptoms.

Dr Krina Zondervan, Co-Director of the Oxford Endometriosis CaRe Centre and Oxford’s scientific lead for genetic discovery & translation commented:

The programme is a natural follow-on from our genetic discovery studies in endometriosis, which has involved the help of thousands of women and has provided us with new insights into the genetic variants that are involved in disease development. The challenge now is to understand how these variants work in biological pathways and whether this information can be used to aid the discovery of new treatment targets.

About the University of Oxford

University of Oxford’s Medical Sciences Division is one of the largest biomedical research centres in Europe, with over 2,500 people involved in research and more than 2,800 students. The university is rated one of the best in the world for medicine, and it is home to the UK’s top-ranked medical school.

From the genetic and molecular basis of disease to the latest advances in neuroscience, Oxford is at the forefront of medical research. It has one of the largest clinical trial portfolios in the UK and great expertise in taking discoveries from the laboratory into the clinic. Partnerships with the local NHS Trusts enable patients to benefit from close links between medical research and healthcare delivery.

A great strength of Oxford medicine is its long-standing network of clinical research units in Asia and Africa, enabling world-leading research on the most pressing global health challenges such as malaria, TB, HIV/AIDS and flu. Oxford is also renowned for its large-scale studies which examine the role of factors such as smoking, alcohol, and diet on cancer, heart disease, and other conditions.

See also

Frequently asked questions about endometriosis
Current treatments

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