The principal terms of the agreement are:
17 research scientists to transfer from British Biotech to Evotec OAI;
Evotec OAI to provide medicinal chemistry and biology services under contract to support British Biotech's anti-inflammatory and anti-infective research programmes;
the transfer to Evotec OAI of certain laboratory equipment at its net book value of approximately £200,000.
The agreement complements British Biotech's proposed merger with RiboTargets, also announced today, and is part of the intended rationalisation of the new business, which envisages that future research operations will be conducted at RiboTarget's laboratories in Cambridge.
Evotec OAI will work under contract for British Biotech on its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial drug discovery research programmes. These will continue to be managed by British Biotech and its collaborative partners, Serono for inflammatory disease and GeneSoft for bacterial infections. The agreement with Evotec OAI has no impact on the terms of British Biotech's collaborative agreements, or on its ownership of intellectual property and commercialisation rights in these areas.
In the anti-bacterial field, today's agreement builds on an existing relationship between British Biotech and Evotec OAI in which Evotec OAI has been assisting in the discovery of additional inhibitors of the bacterial metalloenzyme, peptide deformylase (PDF) in order for British Biotech and GeneSoft to co-develop an oral, broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment for respiratory tract infections.
Commenting on the transaction, British Biotech's acting Chief Executive Tim Edwards said: "This agreement facilitates the integration with RiboTarget and strengthens and extends our successful working relationship with Evotec OAI. It secures a good outcome for those of our employees who are transferring to Evotec OAI and I wish to thank them for their contribution to British Biotech's research."
The transfer of British Biotech's laboratory operations is in line with Evotec OAI's growth strategy, extending the company's capacity through immediate access to an established group of leading research scientists. In 2002, Evotec OAI commissioned additional chemistry laboratories at its site at Abingdon, near Oxford, to accommodate new and expanding programmes.
Dr Ian Hunneyball, President, Services Division and member of the Evotec OAI Management Board, commented: "We are delighted that our discovery group will be further strengthened by British Biotech's experienced medicinal chemists and biologists. This will support the strong growth in our Discovery and Development Services division, which already employs 338 people in the Oxford area as well as 73 in Hamburg."
About Evotec OAI AG
Evotec OAI has established itself as the partner of choice for drug discovery and development services for the world's premier pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, maintaining its leadership role through innovation and unmatched customer service.
Our business strategy is clearly focussed on drug discovery. We have established the most comprehensive technology platform and skills that integrate our world-class biology and chemistry capabilities. We leverage this discovery engine in providing assay development and screening through to compound optimisation and drug manufacturing services to a broad and stable network of customers. In addition, we engage in selected discovery programmes ourselves to develop drug candidates for out-licensing. Our instrument and technology business is now successfully handled by our affiliate, Evotec Technologies.
With over 600 people in Hamburg, Germany and Abingdon, UK , Evotec OAI is dedicated to return value to its shareholders and employees through a sustainable business strategy that balances short-term and long-term revenue opportunities.
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British Biotech plc
Tony Weir, Finance Director
Tel: +49 1865 781166
Jon Coles/Fiona Fong
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Anne HenneckeInvestor Relations & Corporate Communications
Tel: +49 40 56081286
British Biotech to transfer research operations to Evotec OAI
The principal terms of the agreement are: