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Evotec joins forces with academic leaders to accelerate drug discovery in kidney diseases and build "NEPLEX"

 

  • Collaboration aimed at developing novel "Nephron-on-a-Chip" device to test drug candidates in human kidney: NEPLEX ("NEPHRON-ON-A-CHIP WITH CELLULAR AND EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX COMPLEXITY")
  • Major step forward to the next generation kidney platform
 
Hamburg, Germany, 06 November 2017:
Evotec AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) today announced a strategic collaboration on microfluidics technology including induced pluripotent stem cell ("iPSC") differentiation with leading academic institutions in the UK and Italy to accelerate the discovery of novel drugs to treat kidney diseases. The collaboration will combine key technologies from Evotec and the academic institutions to develop a novel drug discovery device ("Nephron-on-a-Chip"). It will merge state-of-the-art microfluidics technology established at the Cambridge University with world-class expertise in iPSC technology and kidney disease from the University of Bristol, the Mario Negri Institute in Bergamo and from Evotec.

The goal of the NEPLEX consortium is to develop a functional Nephron-on-a-Chip that reflects both the filtration area as well as the resorption area of a human kidney. The functional nephrons will be based on fully characterised human cell lines and iPSC-derived human kidney cells. Prof. Moin Saleem and his group from the University of Bristol will contribute human kidney cell lines focusing on the resorption unit, Dr Yan Yan Shery Huang and her lab from the University of Cambridge will develop the glomerular part of the chip, Dr Christodoulos Xinaris and his colleagues from the Mario Negri Institute will provide human iPSC lines and expertise. Evotec will add its state-of-the-art iPSC and kidney disease platforms. The device will allow testing of drug candidates in a fully human nephron already in the pre-clinic and thereby improve and accelerate drug discovery in the field of kidney diseases.

Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec, commented: "We are very pleased to have teamed up with three leading academic institutions in such an exciting area of medicine. Developing fully human and functional organotypic systems for pre-clinical drug discovery with the possibility to include human genetics will be a major step towards personalised and more disease-relevant drug candidates."
No financial details were disclosed.
 
ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL
The University of Bristol is one of the most popular and successful universities in the UK. It was ranked within the top 50 universities in the world in the QS World University Rankings 2018. The University of Bristol is ranked among the top five institutions in the UK for its research, according to new analysis of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, and is the 3rd most targeted university by top UK employers.

Bristol is a member of the Russell Group of UK research-intensive universities, and a member of the Worldwide Universities Network, a grouping of research-led institutions of international standing.

The University was founded in 1876 and was granted its Royal Charter in 1909. It was the first university in England to admit women on the same basis as men.

The University is a major force in the economic, social and cultural life of Bristol and the region, but is also a significant player on the world stage. It has over 16,000 undergraduates and nearly 6,000 postgraduate students from more than 100 countries, and its research links span the globe.

Thirteen Bristol graduates and members of staff have been awarded Nobel Prizes, including Sir Winston Churchill who was Chancellor of the University of Bristol from 1929 until 1965.
 
ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
The mission of the University of Cambridge is to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence. To date, 96 affiliates of the University have won the Nobel Prize.

Founded in 1209, the University comprises 31 autonomous Colleges, which admit undergraduates and provide small-group tuition, and 150 departments, faculties and institutions.

Cambridge is a global university. Its 19,000 student body includes 3,700 international students from 120 countries. Cambridge researchers collaborate with colleagues worldwide, and the University has established larger-scale partnerships in Asia, Africa and America.

The University sits at the heart of one of the world's largest technology clusters. The 'Cambridge Phenomenon' has created 1,500 hi-tech companies, 14 of them valued at over US$1 billion and two at over US$10 billion. Cambridge promotes the interface between academia and business, and has a global reputation for innovation. www.cam.ac.uk
 
ABOUT THE ISTITUTIO DI RICHERCHE FARMACOLOGICHE MARIO NEGRI IN BERGAMO
The Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research is a private not-for-profit biomedical research organisation established in Milan in 1961. The Institute's main aim is to help defend human health and life. Nowadays the Mario Negri Institute has 3 headquarters: besides Milan, the Anna Maria Astori Center in Bergamo and the Clinical Research Center for Rare Diseases "Aldo e Cele Daccò" in Ranica (Bergamo), with 700 people in its staff.


The main research areas of the Institute are: cancer, psychiatric and neurological diseases, cardiovascular diseases, renal diseases, rare diseases, organ transplants, toxic effects of environmental contaminants, pain relief and drug addiction, mother and child's health, epidemiology. The results obtained by researchers at the Institute are set out in more than 14,000 scientific publications in international journals. Besides research, the Institute runs training courses for laboratory technicians and graduate researchers. It also organises initiatives for the diffusion of scientific culture in biomedicine, in general and as specific backing for healthcare practice, and more rational use of drugs.


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.