Hamburg, Germany - 02 February 2016: Evotec AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) today announced that it has been awarded a research grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation ("MJFF") to further develop Evotec's TargetaSN (Targetalpha-synuclein) programme for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.
The grant from MJFF supports the development of a highly sensitive assay to quantify the amount of the alpha-synuclein protein in human nerve cells. Mutations in the alpha-synuclein gene are known to cause Parkinson's disease, and the hallmark pathology of the disease, including in idiopathic patients, is aggregates of alpha-synuclein called Lewy bodies. Reducing the levels of mutated alpha-synuclein protein in the brain of Parkinson's disease patients is a promising treatment approach.
Dr Kuldip Dave, Director of Research Programs at MJFF commented: "Alpha-synuclein is a primary target both for Parkinson's drug development and biomarker research. Reliable tools to measure this protein, such as is being developed by Evotec, will help us better understand the course of disease, monitor its progression more closely and test new therapies more efficiently."
Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec, stated: "We are delighted about the support of MJFF for our TargetaSN programme, which is part of a larger Evotec initiative to address neurodegenerative diseases through highly innovative approaches involving patient-derived stem cells and genetically validated mechanisms. Within this initiative, we systematically explore mechanisms that have been validated through human genetics in the context of patient-derived neuronal cells. This approach is expected to lead to the identification of novel targets and compounds with a higher probability to become effective treatments compared to conventional approaches."
ABOUT PARKINSON'S DISEASE
Parkinson's disease is a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that is characterised by well-known motor symptoms including tremors, stiffness of limbs, slowness of movements and difficulties with posture and balance, as well as by non-motor symptoms. The cause is unknown, and although there is presently no cure, there are treatment options such as medication and surgery to manage its symptoms. Parkinson's disease is more common in people over 60 years of age and its prevalence is expected to increase significantly as the average age of the population increases. Estimates of the number of people living with the disease therefore vary, but recent research indicates that at least one million people in the United States, and more than five million worldwide, have Parkinson's disease. (Source: MJFF and Parkinson's Disease Foundation)
ABOUT THE MICHAEL J. FOX FOUNDATION
The Michael J. Fox Foundation (www.michaeljfox.org) is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson's disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson's today. Since 2000, The Michael J. Fox Foundation has funded more than $ 525 million to speed a cure for Parkinson's disease.
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.