Hamburg/Munich, March 28, 2001. MediGene AG (NMarkt: MDG) and EVOTEC BioSystems AG (Evotec OAI) (NMarkt: EVT) announced today, that MediGene, a biopharmaceutical company with a focus on cardiac and cancer therapies, will collaborate with Evotec OAI, a supplier of integrated high-value added biological, chemical and screening services, to identify novel drugs for the treatment of cardiac diseases.
Evotec OAI will search for therapeutic molecules relating to a certain target identified by MediGene with the aim of bringing potential benefit for as yet unmet medical needs. The agreement contains an option for the inclusion of up to four more targets.
Targets are disease-related genes or proteins. MediGene's Integrated Target Definition (ITD) is a broad technology platform the company has put together for the identification and characterization of such targets in the area of cardiology.
Evotec OAI will apply its EVOscreen® technology as well as its compound library for screening. It is the first time that the combined entity Evotec OAI, which was formed recently through the merger of EVOTEC and Oxford Asymmetry International, will apply skills from both sides of the business, namely chemistry expertise and compound library from OAI, and the EVOscreen® technology from EVOTEC in one agreement.
MediGene will keep all rights to the targets and in addition will receive all rights to the identified therapeutic substances, which the company intends to further develop on their own or together with pharma partners. Apart from a fixed payment for the agreed services, Evotec OAI will receive success dependent milestone payments and royalties. Further financial details were not disclosed.
"This collaboration with Evotec OAI makes our ITD program even more attractive for potential pharma partners. It is a big step forward for us on the way to additional product candidates to fill our pipeline", explained Dr. Peter Heinrich, MediGene's Chief Executive Officer. "So far we have identified more than 200 genes using our ITD-program. Now we want to move our targets ahead in the value chain by adding drug screening with Evotec OAI. The combination of both companies technology enables us to move additional drug candidates rapidly into clinical development following our product candidate Etomoxir."
Dr Edwin Moses, Evotec OAI's President and Head of Business Development, said "We are delighted that MediGene have chosen Evotec OAI as a partner to enhance their drug development programme and are looking forward to starting the collaboration. This deal emphasises the attractiveness of our newly enlarged integrated offering of both chemistry and biology services to partners in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector and represents Evotec OAI's first joint collaboration. We now have the necessary capabilities and expertise to support our partners in identifying and optimising drug candidates for their targets. Our offering is designed to significantly speed up the drug discovery process and increase the probability of success thereby adding value to our clients' identified programmes."
EVOscreen® is the world's first fully-operational, automated miniaturised system, accurate to one microliter, designed for ultra-high throughput screening (uHTS). EVOscreen®'s potential is based on the combination of miniaturisation, automation and Evotec OAI's proprietary single-molecule detection technology for the analysis of target compound interactions. The system has the potential for a throughput of 100,000 tests per day. In the process of analysing minute assay volumes it generates data with a high information content and delivers cost savings by significantly reducing the consumption of valuable reagents. With EVOscreen®, Evotec OAI has secured a leading position in the field of ultra high throughput screening (uHTS).
MediGene's ITD-technology accelerates important steps of the drug development process. All data necessary for the selection of a promising product candidate, from target identification by comparison of healthy and diseased tissue on a molecular level to the characterization of drug candidates can be collected using ITD.
MediGene has developed a broad proprietary knowledge to allow this selection of target and drug candidates including, amongst others, heart-specific cell, organ and animal models. So far more than 200 genes related to specific cardiac diseases have been identified using the ITD-technology.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent the judgement of MediGene group as of the date of this release. These forward looking statements are no guarantees for future performance, and the forward-looking events discussed in this press release may not occur. MediGene group disclaims any intent or obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements.
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Notes to the editor
Evotec OAI offers the full range of high-value added products and services required to discover and develop drugs more effectively and efficiently. By integrating accelerated methods in biology, chemistry and screening, the Company has established a unique position as a 'one-stop-shop' for all the critical elements in the drug discovery research and development process from target to clinical development. Approximately 500 people are based in Hamburg, Germany and Abingdon, UK Evotec OAI already has close links with many of the leading companies in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, including Novartis, Pfizer, Glaxo SmithKline, Aventis, Pharmacia/Sugen, Eli Lilly, Bayer, BMS, Roche, Amgen, Biogen, Vertex, Serono and Immunex. Evotec OAI's shares are listed on the Neuer Markt of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
MediGene AG - Novel cancer and cardiac drugs
MediGene AG is a publicly quoted biopharmaceutical company with headquarters in Martinsried, Germany and a wholly owned subsidiary MediGene, Inc in San Diego, USA. The group combines a broad, proprietary technology portfolio, including the ITD, CVLP, AAV and HSV technology, with product candidates in pre-clinical and clinical development and has built up core competence in cardiac and cancer diseases, two areas of high medical need and huge market potential.
Five of MediGene's product candidates are currently in clinical trials: Polyphenon(TM)E to treat genital warts is in phase 3, the drug Etomoxir to treat congestive heart failure is in phase 2, G207 to treat brain cancers successfully completed phase 1 and is preparing for phase 2 trials, NV1020 to treat colorectal cancer metastatic to the liver is in phase 1 and a vaccine against cervical cancer is in phase 1/2 trials. For the development and the marketing of this vaccine as well as one additional tumor vaccine, strategic product alliances with Schering and Aventis Pharma have been concluded. However, the company also intends to market the majority of its product candidates on its own.
In the field of cardiology the unique technology platform "Integrated Target Definition" (ITD) combines methods of gene discovery, analysis and validation with the goal to find novel drug targets for specific cardiac diseases. Recently, MediGene AG signed two bioinformatics agreements with Gene Data AG and Compugen Inc. to enforce its ITD program. In addition MediGene AG employs Affymetrix' GeneChip® technology and Ciphergen's ProteinChip® technology.
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