Evotec OAI and Oxagen Initiate Drug Discovery Alliance

In the search for new drugs Evotec OAI will apply its fully integrated drug discovery process know-how to express the target of interest, develop Ca2+ flux assays, screen the target against its corporate library of drug-like small molecule compounds and provide profiling services to Oxagen. In addition, the contract includes an option for Evotec OAI to provide medicinal chemistry services where Evotec OAI chemists would design and synthesise focussed libraries based on the templates identified in screening biased towards Oxagen's target. Financial terms are not disclosed.
Joern Aldag, President and Chief Executive Officer of Evotec OAI, commented: "We are delighted that Oxagen has chosen Evotec OAI as its partner to progress their very first target candidate towards the clinic. Our drug discovery process expertise covering biology and chemistry ideally complements their disease biology and we are convinced that it will add significant value to their drug discovery programme."
Dr Mark Payton, Chief Executive Officer of Oxagen, added: "This marks Oxagen's first steps into developing proprietary drugs based on targets identified through our genetic capabilities. We are looking forward to the collaboration with Evotec OAI as we believe their extensive drug discovery capabilities will greatly support us in efficiently progressing our target discoveries through functional biology and on into chemistry."

About Evotec OAI AG
Evotec OAI offers a comprehensive range of high-value added services and products required to increase the efficiency and at the same time reduce the risk in the identification of new drugs. By integrating proprietary state-of-the-art technologies and processes in biology, chemistry and screening, the Company has established a unique position for all the critical elements in the drug discovery and development process - from target to clinical development. Due to its extensive know how and experience Evotec OAI is the ideal partner for pharma and biotech companies world-wide. To date, Evotec OAI has completed over 1,200 projects with 150 companies, including all of the top 20 global pharmaceutical companies and major biotechs.
The Company employs more than 600 people, primarily at its two main sites at Hamburg in Germany and Abingdon in the UK. Subsidiaries are located in Europe and North America. In 2001 Evotec OAI achieved revenues of EUR 63.2 million. Evotec OAI shares are listed on the Neuer Markt of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since November 1999 (NM: EVT).
About Oxagen Ltd
Oxagen is a biopharmaceutical company building a novel drug pipeline based on targets validated in man through its genetics platform. The Company specialises in target identification and validation in inflammatory and metabolic diseases and is creating a pipeline of novel, highly validated drug targets for licensing to partner companies and for in house development, together with panels of molecular diagnostic markers. Oxagen has built up unique family-based clinical genetics resources in its key therapeutic areas. These core resources are exploited through two complementary approaches:
Discovery Genetics: the identification of the chromosomal location of disease-predisposing genes through the systematic analysis of the DNA from families affected by disease. To date, Oxagen has completed genome scans identifying more than 40 linkage regions each likely to contain a disease gene.
Validation Genetics: candidate genes from target families (eg GPCRs) are genotyped across Oxagen's clinical cohorts. In this way Oxagen can identify genes that correlate with disease-related phenotypes such as low bone mineral density and asthma.
Oxagen was established in April 1997 and has built an extensive technical and analytical capability with some 100 members of staff all based in Milton Park, south of Oxford. Oxagen has established partnerships with a number of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer, Incyte Genomics, and Insmed. For more information on Oxagen, please visit www.oxagen.co.uk