- SELECTIVE, NOVEL A2A RECEPTOR ANTAGONIST IS MOST ADVANCED ASSET ARISING FROM JOINT VENTURE BETWEEN EVOTEC AND EXSCIENTIA
- EXSCIENTIA TO LEAD CLINICAL DEVELOPMENT PHASE
- EVOTEC RETAINS CO-OWNERSHIP RIGHTS DURING CLINICAL DEVELOPMENT
Hamburg, Germany, 09 April 2021:
Evotec SE (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, MDAX/TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) today announced the most advanced asset arising from their joint venture with Exscientia has entered human clinical trials. The A2a receptor antagonist, which is in development for adult patients with advanced solid tumours, was co-invented and developed between Exscientia and Evotec, including application of Exscientia’s next generation 3-D evolutionary AI-design platform, Centaur Chemist®. The drug candidate has potential for best-in-class characteristics, with high selectivity for the target receptor, bringing together potential benefits of reduced systemic side effects as well as minimal brain exposure to avoid potential undesired centrally-mediated side effects.
Tumour cells produce high levels of adenosine, a molecule that helps them escape immune system detection by binding to the A2a receptor on cancer-fighting T-cells, reducing T-cell ability to eliminate disease. Therefore, this highly selective A2a receptor antagonist is being investigated for its ability to prevent adenosine from binding to the T-cell receptor and potentially promote anti-tumour T-cell activity.
Dr Craig Johnstone, Chief Operating Officer of Evotec, commented: “We highly value our ongoing partnership with Exscientia, which has been highly collaborative and productive in every respect. We are therefore delighted to announce the start of clinical development of our co-owned A2a antagonist with Exscientia in the hope that the fruits of our collaboration can bring potential benefits to patients in the future.”
Prof. Andrew Hopkins, CEO and founder of Exscientia, said: “We set ambitious therapeutic objectives for this project, especially high selectivity for the A2a receptor and central nervous system (CNS) sparing properties, in order to reduce the likelihood of potential side effects. Even with these challenging objectives, we were able to discover our candidate molecule within 8 months of project initiation.”
Exscientia will lead further clinical development of the molecule and Evotec will retain co-ownership rights throughout clinical development.