In 2016, Evotec implemented a new strategy of taking equity in promising start-ups. With these investments, we can create significant additional upside potential for the future of Evotec. Taking equity is simply another way of driving our long established strategic idea of co-owning assets. Furthermore, Evotec will always have the possibility to even further invest in these companies to increase the potential future upside.
In March 2016, Evotec announced the formation of a spin-off company in the field of nanoparticle-based therapeutics to treat immunological disorders. Epidarex Capital, EMBL Ventures and Gimv participated together with Evotec in the EUR 14 m ($ 15.75 m) Series A round of Topas Therapeutics GmbH. Evotec will remain the largest shareholder after the financing round.
The new company, Topas Therapeutics GmbH ("Topas"), aims to build a unique pipeline of clinical-stage development projects to treat autoimmune diseases. The proceeds of the Series A funding enable Topas to expand and accelerate its proprietary liver-based tolerance induction platform and to progress with its own product development efforts in multiple autoimmune and inflammatory indications including multiple sclerosis into clinical proof-of-concept ("POC") stage. In April 2018, Topas announced a multi-year collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim in the field of antigen-specific tolerance induction.
Here you can find more information about Topas.
In October 2016, Evotec announced that in line with its strategy to participate in promising corporate formations it will deepen its already existing relationship with Carrick. Evotec will invest up to $ 6 m towards Carrick's latest funding round. The total $ 95 m round was led by ARCH Venture Partners and Woodford Investment Management with participation from Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds, Cambridge Innovation Capital, Google Ventures (GV), Lightstone Ventures, and Evotec.
Carrick, headquartered in Dublin with R&D located in Oxford and Dublin has a clear vision for cancer patients: its mission is to target the molecular pathways that drive the most aggressive and resistant forms of cancer in order to have a major impact on the lives of patients. Instead of banking on a single compound or biological mechanism, Carrick is building an innovative portfolio of first-in-class treatments that target multiple mechanisms of the most aggressive forms of cancer, and which will be tailored to an individual patient's tumour. To support this mission Evotec will provide its full range of discovery and oncology services, through its discovery and pre-clinical platform. Carrick will progress multiple programmes through hit-to-lead and lead optimisation with the goal of delivering multiple development candidates.
Carrick progressed its lead programme into Phase I clinical trials in November 2017.
Here you can find more information about Carrick.
In January 2017, Evotec announced that it will extend its existing relationship with Eternygen GmbH ("Eternygen") by becoming an investor in addition to being a pre-clinical drug discovery partner. Within a consortium of investors including VC Fonds Technologie Berlin, managed by IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH, and two renowned family offices, Epidarex and Evotec together will participate in Eternygen's latest funding round of EUR 8 m (approx. $ 8.3 m).
Eternygen, a privately owned metabolic diseases company based in Berlin, Germany, is focused on the sodium coupled citrate transporter ("NaCT"), a novel target which is also known as INDY ("I am Not Dead Yet"). INDY is a key regulator of energy metabolism that may be involved in the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease ("NAFLD"), nonalcoholic steatohepatitis ("NASH"), diabetes and obesity. Eternygen will use the proceeds of the Series A funding to accelerate its small molecule NaCT inhibitors towards the selection of a pre-clinical lead candidate. Eternygen will rely on Evotec's best-in-class drug discovery platform and metabolic disease expertise to conduct all work to the selection of pre-clinical development candidate and possibly beyond.
Here you can find more information about Eternygen.
In January 2017, Evotec and Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners ("TIAP", formerly MaRS Innovation) announced the launch of Fibrocor Therapeutics LP ("Fibrocor"), a Toronto-based company focused on developing first-in-class therapeutics targeting fibrotic diseases. The company was launched with CDN $ 2.8 m (approx. $ 2.1 m) financing, which includes cash from TIAP. Evotec will provide all drug discovery activities and will also receive an equity stake.
Fibrocor takes a new approach to understanding and treating fibrosis, bringing together clinical expertise and access to disease tissue with high-throughput molecular analysis infrastructure and expertise in clinically-predictive animal models of fibrosis.
The company is co-founded with leading academic and clinician scientists from world-class academic institutions in Toronto, including Dr Richard Gilbert MD, PhD, Canada Research Chair in Diabetic Complications and Head of Endocrinology at St. Michael's Hospital and Scientist with the hospital's Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science; Dr Darren Yuen, MD, PhD, Nephrologist with St. Michael's and Scientist with its Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science; and Dr Jeff Wrana, PhD, Senior Investigator at Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health System. The academic/clinical team is complemented by management and business development from TIAP and drug discovery and development services from Evotec.
In January 2019, Fibrocor announced a global partnership focused on a novel target for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and other indications with Galapagos NV. Fibrocor received an upfront payment, and potentially is eligible for further milestone and royalty payments.
Here you can find more information about Fibrocor.
In June 2017, Evotec announced that it will make a strategic investment as part of Facio Therapies' ("Facio") 2017 funding round together with Australian, European and North American members of the Facioscapulohumeral dystrophy ("FSHD") community (Total volume: EUR 4.8 m). Evotec is extending its ongoing drug discovery partnership with Facio and will carry out all discovery work. Through this investment, Evotec enters the field of musculoskeletal diseases via a very focused programme in FSHD, a disease of substantial unmet medical need affecting an estimated 700,000 people worldwide.
Facio, a privately owned company based in Leiden, Netherlands, solely focuses on finding a safe, effective, and affordable cure for FSHD. FSHD is a progressive muscle-wasting disease and there is currently no treatment option available. The key event in FSHD is the undue expression of the so-called DUX4 protein in skeletal muscle, which leads to muscle atrophy and oxidative stress. Since 2015, Facio and Evotec have been collaborating to identify DUX4-repressing small-molecule compounds as a potential treatment to stop the progression of FSHD. As part of the partnership, drug discovery efforts performed at Evotec have been based on screening patient-derived primary cells in a high-throughput manner.
Here you can find more information about Facio.
In September 2017, Evotec and Exscientia Ltd ("Exscientia") announced that Evotec has made a EUR 15 m investment to take a minority stake in Exscientia. Through this investment, Evotec became the first strategic shareholder in the UK-based company. Exscientia is focused on Artificial Intelligence ("AI")-driven drug discovery and design.
Exscientia and Evotec have cooperated since early 2016 to advance small molecules and bispecific small molecules in immuno-oncology. The ongoing success of this partnership was the basis for an expanded and deepened corporate relationship. Exscientia is the world leader in developing and applying AI approaches specifically to design new and better therapeutic molecules in a faster and more cost-effective manner. Exscientia's approach fuses the power of AI with the discovery experience of seasoned drug hunters and chemistry experts. Exscientia uses its funds to drive higher value partner programmes and expand discovery on its automated design platform.
In January 2019, Evotec announced an additional investment of approximately $ 6 m towards Exscientia’s latest funding round (Series B), in which Exscientia raised a total of $ 26 m. Celgene Corporation and GT Healthcare Capital Partners joined as new investors and Evotec, previously the only large external investor, fully participated in this round.
Here you can find more information about Exscientia.
In December 2016, Evotec and Forge announced a strategic alliance to advance its novel Gram-negative antibiotic programme targeting 'LpxC' for the treatment of bacterial infections including those caused by drug resistant 'superbugs'. LpxC has been recognised as an attractive antibacterial target for more than the past 15 years; however, a lack of suitable chemical starting points has hampered its progress. Forge has been applying its proprietary metal-binding pharmacophores ("MBP") library and processes and has been able to identify potent drugable inhibitors of LpxC. The alliance has been expanded in October 2017 with the launch of the BLACKSMITH platform to discover a broader range of therapeutics targeting metalloenzymes.
Evotec participated in financing rounds of Forge in 2017 and 2018.
In April 2019, Forge and Basilea entered into a research collaboration and license agreement to discover, develop, and commercialise novel antibiotic classes.
Here you can find more information about Forge.
In July 2019, Evotec announced the formation of the spin-off company Breakpoint Therapeutics GmbH, a virtual biotech company focusing on the development of Evotec’s DNA damage response (“DDR”) portfolio. Breakpoint Therapeutics’ mission is to develop first and best-in-class oncology drugs that interfere with DNA repair and replication stress pathways to facilitate the cure of therapy-resistant cancers. The company expects to deliver the first IND-ready drug in 2022.
The early stage funding amounting to € 30 m is covered by a renowned international investor consortium led by Medicxi, a life sciences-focused investment firm, Taiho Ventures, LLC (“Taiho”), the venture capital arm of Taiho Pharmaceutical, and Evotec. Evotec holds below 50% of the company and consolidates at equity accordingly.
Nephrology Joint Venture
In November 2019, Evotec announced the formation of a new 50:50 joint venture with Vifor Phrama Group focusing on the discovery and development of novel nephrology therapeutics. The joint venture aims to identify new targets for renal therapies, and sharpen existing product profiles of an innovative pipeline by analysing the clinical data provided by Evotec that is mining a unique UK kidney biobank, NURTuRE.
Initial funding of € 25 m for pre-clinical development will be covered by Vifor Pharma so that multiple targets or candidates can be moved forward simultaneously. The use of Evotec’s proprietary PanHunter bioinformatics platform, combined with high-quality data sets from thousands of human kidney disease patients will lead to the discovery of a number of promising therapeutic options in the kidney disease space.