Hamburg, Germany, 11 July 2016: Evotec AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, TecDAX, ISIN DE0005664809) announced today a collaboration with Antibiotic Research UK ("ANTRUK") to identify alternative means of treating infections that are resistant to currently available antibiotics. The research will focus on the discovery of Antibiotic Resistance Breakers, or "ARBs", to be used in conjunction with known antibiotics with the aim of reversing resistance and restoring clinical utility of such antibiotics. ANTRUK, the world's first charity tackling antimicrobial resistance, was established by a network of leading UK scientists and clinicians with the mission to educate the public about microbial resistance, promote the discovery and development of new antibiotic therapies, and support those currently living with antibiotic-resistant infections.
Evotec has established a world-class drug discovery platform that, through integration of facilities in the UK, Germany and France, enables state-of-the-art research to be conducted in collaboration with a large range of organisations including virtual foundations and charities such as Antibiotic Research UK. The collaboration will engage Evotec's anti-infectives site in Manchester, as well as its bio-safety level 2 high-throughput screening facility at Evotec's Toulouse site.
For over 50 years, the discovery of a new class of antibiotics has evaded the industry and the threat of antimicrobial resistance has ever increased. Recently, the former Goldman Sachs Chief and now UK Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Lord Jim O'Neill, released his final report, which was part of a two-year Antimicrobial Resistance Review. This report highlighted the enormous need for new business models to fund and incentivise the discovery of new therapies to treat drug-resistant infections.
Dr Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive Officer of Evotec, commented: "The combination of Evotec's science and infrastructures, alongside charities and foundations like ANTRUK, allows highly capital-efficient drug discovery processes. This is especially important for addressing the dramatic threat of multi-drug resistant bacterial infections where time is of essence to come up with new treatments."
Professor Colin Garner, Chief Executive at Antibiotic Research UK, added: "It is great to see our first research programme commencing so soon after the charity's formation in mid-2014, and we are grateful to our supporters who have funded this programme. Evotec's facilities and expertise make it an ideal partner for this first project and it is exciting to see some action finally being taken as no new classes of antibiotics, against Gram-negative bacteria, have been introduced for the past 30 years. It is vital that new treatments are found if we are to avoid a catastrophe in the future. I am really looking forward to seeing the results of the research, as this programme could potentially find new ways of extending the life of our existing antibiotics at a fraction of the cost and time compared to conventional drug development programmes."
No financial details about the collaboration were disclosed
ABOUT ANTIBIOTIC RESEARCH UK
Professor Colin Garner, an academic formerly based at the University of York, founded ANTRUK in June 2014, following discussions held with some of the UK's leading academic scientists and clinicians who had formed an informal network known as Antibiotic Discovery UK. There was general agreement amongst this community that the country that discovered penicillin and some of the other leading antibiotics in common use today had let this area of drug development slip backwards to such an extent that there was very little research now being conducted in the area. The charity was registered in July 2014.
In a recent scientific paper by Professor Laura Piddock and her colleague Eilis Bragginton from the University of Birmingham, they estimated that just £95 million was spent on antibiotic research (0.7% of all UK medical research funding). This compares with £500 million spent annually on cancer research and a total annual expenditure on medical research of £1.4 billion. Without effective antibiotics the position of medicine would go 'back to the dark ages' as David Cameron recently stated.
It is against this backdrop that ANTRUK has been created with the aim of kick-starting antibiotic drug development in the UK's universities and small and medium-sized companies. The charity's mission is to provide a step change in developing new antibiotics with a view to developing one new antibiotic therapy in the next 5-7 years. Typically, it takes 10-15 years to develop a new drug but ANTRUK will use some novel methods which will short-circuit this process including taking drugs into patients much earlier than currently practiced (accelerating the process of drug development from lab bench to bedside). In order to achieve this medium-term objective, ANTRUK aims to raise up to £30 million in the next 5-7 years using social media campaigns, crowd funding, applications to foundations and trusts and corporate sponsorship
FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
Information set forth in this press release contains forward-looking statements, which involve a number of risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent the judgement of Evotec as of the date of this press release. Such forward-looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, and which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements. We expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any such statements to reflect any change in our expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.