Hamburg, Germany 05 April 2017: Evotec AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) today announced that its strategic alliance (TargetBCD) with Sanofi in the field of diabetes has reached an important milestone, triggering a payment of EUR 3.0 m to Evotec, for achieving pre-clinical proof-of-concept.
This milestone was achieved under the agreement between Evotec and Sanofi signed in August 2015. The goal of this collaboration is to develop a beta cell replacement therapy based on functional beta cells derived from human stem cells. In addition, Sanofi and Evotec also aim to use human beta cells for high-throughput drug screening to identify small molecules or biologics beneficial for beta cell activity.
Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec, commented: "Diabetes represents one of the major threats to global healthcare systems and we are committed to discover new treatment options together with our colleagues at Sanofi. We are very pleased to have achieved this very important milestone that represents a major step forward towards developing a new therapeutic option for diabetes patients."
ABOUT BETA CELLS
Beta cells play a key role in the pathogenesis of diabetes, a condition which currently affects 415 million patients worldwide. Beta cells reside in clusters of hormone producing cells ("islets") within the pancreas. They respond to elevated blood glucose levels (e.g. after a meal) by secreting the glucose lowering hormone insulin. In the type 1 form of diabetes ("T1D"), beta cells are destroyed by the patient's own immune system. As a result, T1D patients have to follow a life-long regimen of carefully dosed insulin injections. In patients with type 2 diabetes ("T2D"), beta cells are functionally impaired and yet have to work in the presence of metabolic stress and increased work load due to an impaired tissue insulin response. T2D is progressive, and current therapeutic options cannot prevent the deterioration of beta cell function, eventually also creating a need for insulin injections. Insulin injections represent a significant burden to patients. They cannot fully mimic the normal control of blood glucose levels by normal beta cells, frequently resulting in debilitating acute and long-term complications. There is an enormous medical need for novel therapeutic options which can restore beta cell mass and thereby reduce or eliminate the need for insulin injections, or which can prevent or reverse the decline in beta cell function in type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes mellitus ("Diabetes") is a chronic incapacitating disease associated with severe lifelong conditions which require intensive monitoring and control, such as cardiovascular diseases, kidney diseases, nerve damage and eye diseases. At present, there is no cure for diabetes and only symptomatic treatment options are available. According to the International Diabetes Federation, approximately 415 million people worldwide have diabetes in 2015 (2014: 387 million). Of these, about 46.5% have not yet been diagnosed and are at risk of costly and debilitating diabetes complications. Concerning the diabetes market volume, approx. $ 673 bn were spent on the treatment of diabetes in 2015 (2014: $ 612 bn).
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.