Forendo Pharma is progressing novel therapeutic concepts for women’s and men’s health
Forendo Pharma Ltd is a drug discovery and development company focusing on unmet needs in women’s and men’s health. The core team has experience of developing two SERMs to the women’s health market. Forendo has operations in Turku and Oulu in Finland.
Today the focus of Forendo is on fispemifene, a novel SERM for symptoms of low testosterone in men, and on HSD17B inhibitors for endometriosis. HSD17B enzymes platform built together with the academic partners is the source of the early phase discovery programs.
Increased estrogen formation, e.g. by intra-abdominal obesity, is the important cause of secondary hypogonadism with sexual, metabolic and CNS symptoms considered to arise from low testosterone. Association of increased estrogen / androgen ratio to lower urinary tract symptoms, like chronic prostatitis and obstructed urination is less established. All these symptoms are the targets of fispemifene treatment, which is normalising own testosterone production but also antagonising the excessive estrogen effect in prostate and lower urinary tract. Fispemifene is in phase IIb development in USA together with Apricus Biosciences. Forendo is working for partnering the product for the other territories.
HSD17B1 enzyme is a novel drug target specific for activation of estrone to estradiol in the most important target organs of estrogen. Forendo has discovered selective inhibitors of this enzyme and is progressing to human studies. In the primate endometriosis model these compounds have shown efficacy in eliminating the disease lesions. Differently from other treatments of endometriosis these compounds have maintained the normal ovarian function in the primates. This novel intracrine concept seems to offer multiple applications. The opportunities for measuring hormone levels in normal and disease tissues has opened new understanding of the local hormone production not only in endometriosis but importantly e.g. in hormonal cancers.
The Forendo core team has its background in Hormos Medical, where they developed ospemifene, a SERM launched for vaginal atrophy symptoms.
CEO Risto Lammintausta has gained his experience in developing multiple new drugs in Farmos and Orion Pharma before founding Hormos. The path within estrogen modulating drugs has started with toremifene, developed for treatment of breast cancer. The Forendo cofounders include two professors from the basic and clinical research of the estrogen physiology.
Forendo has been able to attract highly regarded investors of the pharma sector, Karolinska Development, Novo Seeds, Finnvera, Novartis Venture Fund and Merck-Serono Ventures. This gives Forendo a good basis to contribute on the men’s and women’s health area with very important progress.