R&D projects

 

Within our internal EVT Innovate R&D portfolio, we are executing drug discovery programmes in various ways:

  • Internal/proprietary projects, fully funded by Evotec
  • Programmes funded through external investors, foundations or public grants
  • Shared risk-reward alliances with academia and small biotechs

Aim is to develop these projects forward along the drug discovery chain to optimal value inflection points with two possible exit scenarios

  • Pharma partnership
  • Spin-off

to reduce the company`s financial risk going forward.

Anti-infectives

Harvard/ TargetPGB

In May 2013, Evotec announced a research collaboration with Harvard University aimed at discovering and developing novel anti-bacterial agents based on a highly validated target family involved in bacterial cell wall biosynthesis.

Under the agreement, researchers at Harvard and Evotec collaboratively identify and optimise small molecule inhibitors of bacterial cell wall synthesis, based on enabling technologies and chemical starting points licensed from Harvard. Using its comprehensive drug discovery infrastructure and expertise in addressing anti-bacterial targets, Evotec specifically target peptidoglycan biosynthesis (PGB). The approach leverages promising chemical starting points, biological and structure-guided techniques allied with extensive medicinal chemistry expertise. The commercialisation of the resulting assets will be through Evotec.

Exploiting proprietary assays, chemical starting points and x-ray crystallographic tools from Harvard, the collaboration paves the way to develop novel antibacterial agents targeting PGB. The collaboration leverages the longstanding research of Daniel Kahne and Suzanne Walker, Professors in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and in the Departments of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology and Microbiology and Immunobiology, respectively and Evotec’s experience in the antibacterial space.

Diabetes and diabetic complications

NURTURE/ Kidney disease

In June 2017, Evotec announced that it has joined the NURTuRE consortium to drive kidney disease focused drug discovery based on patient derived-data. NURTuRE is uniquely positioned to collect clinical data at the UK Renal Registry and analyse samples of 14 kidney disease centres in the UK, constituting one of the largest kidney patient registries worldwide.

The NURTuRE consortium will initially focus on chronic kidney disease ("CKD") and nephrotic syndrome ("NS") patients and will leverage established institutions such as the UK Renal Registry and Evotec's integrated kidney drug discovery platform. Alongside other consortium members, Evotec will access patient samples including kidney biopsies, blood, serum and urine for an in-depth histological and molecular analysis to identify and validate targets and biomarkers.

Kidney disease has emerged as a global epidemic. Currently no treatment options that have the potential to slow down or stop CKD disease progression are available. Detailed understanding of patho-mechanisms based on well-characterised patient samples will allow the identification and exploration of novel genetic and metabolic components, which are key drivers of kidney diseases. This approach will lead to a new generation of drug candidates in the field of kidney diseases being developed based on human biology and pathophysiology.

About NURTuRE

Developed in the first instance to collect and store biological samples from 3,000 patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and at least 800 patients with nephrotic syndrome (NS), the biobank will provide a strategic resource for fundamental and translational research. In addition to the samples of plasma, serum, urine, DNA and tissue that will be stored, the repository will also have the considerable advantage of containing associated linked clinical data, through the UK Renal Registry.

Running over a five-year period, the samples will be obtained through 14 NHS Trusts, with patients followed up at specific intervals. From mid-2018, all researchers will be able to apply for access to samples stored in the biobank for future studies.

The biobank is funded by AbbVie Inc, Evotec, UCB Celltech Biopharma and Kidney Research UK. Experts from the University of Bristol and the University of Nottingham form the core academic team overseeing all operational delivery. Biomarker analysis will take place at the University of Geneva and histopathological (tissue) analysis at the University of Birmingham. More information is available here: nurturebiobank 

NEPLEX

In November 2017, Evotec 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 ("NEPHRON-ON-A-CHIP WITH CELLULAR AND EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX COMPLEXITY") 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.

Inflammation and Immunology

Ellersbrook/ TargetNASH

In June 2016, Evotec announced that the investment company Ellersbrook GmbH & Co. KG, ("Ellersbrook"), Germany, will invest into Evotec's internal TargetNASH programme. Ellersbrook is a life science focused investment firm owned by Dr Herbert Stadler, a renowned biotech entrepreneur.
This agreement marks a logical extension of Evotec's EVT Innovate business segment which is based on proprietary drug discovery programmes in first-in-class approaches which are designed to form the basis of strategic Pharma partnerships or spin-out companies. Ellersbrook and Evotec jointly commit more than EUR 5 m in funding for an initial period of up to three years. In this joint investment, Evotec is contributing a well-defined Cure X/Target X programme (TargetNASH) and designs and executes the business plan in cooperation with Ellersbrook. The goal is to accelerate TargetNASH projects during an incubator period to tangible value points which will form the basis of either an independently financed spin-off company or a strategic Pharma partnership.

TargetNASH is a highly systematic approach to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) identifying novel mechanisms and targets with the potential to lead to disease-modifying therapies. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common chronic liver disease in the world affecting up to 30% of the adult population and represents the major cause for NASH. There is currently no approved pharmacological therapy on the market. TargetNASH pursues a portfolio of highly innovative targets with the goal to target different stages of the disease.

Oncology

ex scientia/ TargetBiSM

In April 2016, Evotec and ex scientia Ltd (Dundee, UK) announced a collaboration with the objective to discover and develop first-in-class bispecific small molecule immuno-oncology therapies. Ex scientia contributes its unique algorithmic design platform while Evotec, mainly through its Toulouse site, is responsible for medicinal chemistry, in vitro and in vivo pharmacology as well as development capabilities and expertise.

Application of bispecific small molecules is an exciting strategy to significantly expand and enhance efficacy beyond conventional single target therapies. The initial focus are cancer-related adenosine targets which are increasingly recognised to play important roles in immuno-oncology. Combining adenosine-based mechanisms with related targets holds great promise in boosting efficacy and addressing larger patient populations through a single small molecule drug.

Yale/ TargetDBR

In December 2013, Evotec entered into a research collaboration, TargetDBR (DNA Break Repair), with the laboratories of Prof. Peter Glazer and Prof. Ranjit Bindra at Yale School of Medicine. The objective of this collaboration is to identify novel mechanisms, targets and compounds that have the potential to interfere with DNA repair. DNA repair mechanisms allow cancer cells to cope with extensive genome rearrangements as well as to escape conventional radio- and chemotherapy and thus have potential applications in many cancer indications. This is the first collaboration to be announced as part of Evotec's open innovation alliance with Yale University.

About the open innovation alliance with Yale

In January 2013, Evotec and Yale University entered into a strategic partnership. Under the agreement, Evotec and Yale intend to leverage first rate science performed at Yale University together with Evotec‘s drug discovery infrastructure and expertise into highly innovative discovery approaches in diseases of high unmet medical need. Initially, Evotec and Yale have defined a wide range of scientific fields including metabolic diseases, CNS, immunological diseases and cancer where they will jointly assess and potentially pursue novel assays, screens and models but in particular exploratory drug targets and compounds. The intention is to seamlessly integrate Evotec’s drug discovery infrastructure with highly innovative biology at Yale to mature individual projects to a stage where they can be commercialised.

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