- BETA CELL REPLACEMENT THERAPY IS CONSIDERED AN ATTRACTIVE THERAPY FOR INSULIN-DEPENDENT DIABETES
- EVOTEC’S IPSC-DERIVED ISLET-LIKE CLUSTERS ARE FUNCTIONALLY EQUIVALENT TO PRIMARY HUMAN ISLETS
Hamburg, Germany, 22 April 2020:
Evotec SE (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, MDAX/TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) announced today that it will regain global development and commercialisation rights to the iPSC-based programme for the treatment of diabetes developed under collaboration agreement with Sanofi.
Evotec has built a unique platform for iPSC-based drug discovery and cell therapy covering the generation of iPS cell lines, up to cell manufacturing of various cell types for drug screening as well as GMP production of clinical material for cell therapies. Evotec produces human beta cells in islet-like clusters from a GMP-compliant iPS cell line in a scalable bioreactor format, with extensive quality control (“QC”) procedures. The beta cell programme has already achieved pre-clinical data demonstrating that they are functionally equivalent to primary human islets in their ability to normalise blood glucose levels in in vivo models over several months.
Evotec will continue the development of the beta cell programme on its own within its EVT Innovate initiative “QRbeta Therapeutics”. In parallel, Evotec will explore the best strategic options for further long-term development and commercialisation. An off-the-shelf beta cell therapy product has the potential to revolutionise the treatment of insulin-dependent diabetic patients and therefore could represent a major therapeutic opportunity.
Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec, commented: “Evotec and Sanofi have developed the beta cell replacement therapy programme since 2015 in a highly productive partnership. During this time, we have made tremendous progress towards bringing a potentially game-changing treatment option to the clinic. We would like to thank Sanofi for the collaboration and its contributions. Regaining full control of this innovative and promising programme to treat diabetes is of great value for Evotec. While we are continuing to move this programme forward, we are exploring partnering options to bring this therapy to patients.”
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, it is estimated that 463 million people worldwide suffered from diabetes in 2019 (2017: 425 million) and this number is projected to reach 578 million by 2030. The disease is a major burden to the global healthcare systems with about $ 760 bn being spent on the treatment of diabetes in 2019 and it is projected that expenditure will reach $ 825 bn by 2030.
About Beta Cells
Beta cells play a key role in the pathogenesis of diabetes. 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 must 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 workload 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. Despite the fact that insulin treatments are important and widely used for people with diabetes, they cannot fully mimic the normal control of blood glucose levels by normal beta cells necessary to avoid acute and long-term complications of diabetes. There is a critical medical need for novel therapeutic options which can restore beta cell mass and, thereby, reduce or eliminate the need for insulin injections. Furthermore, beta cell replacement therapy also has the potential to prevent or reverse the decline in beta cell function in type 2 diabetes.
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.