- JUST – EVOTEC BIOLOGICS WILL SUPPORT THE DOD WITH RAPID, COST-EFFICIENT DEVELOPMENT OF SAFE, EFFICACIOUS MABS TARGETING ORTHOPOXVIRUSES
- PROJECT INCLUDES EXISTING ANTIBODY DEVELOPMENT, ANTIBODY DISCOVERY, AND AI-DRIVEN DE NOVO ANTIBODY DESIGN OF THERAPEUTIC CANDIDATES
- EVOTEC WILL PROVIDE PRE-CLINICAL AND CLINICAL TRIAL SERVICES
Hamburg, Germany, 05 July 2023:
Evotec SE (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, MDAX/TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809; NASDAQ: EVO) today announced that the U.S. Department of Defense (“DOD”) has awarded Evotec’s Seattle-based subsidiary, Just – Evotec Biologics, Inc. a contract valued up to $ 74 m for the rapid development of monoclonal antibody (“mAb”)-based drug product prototypes targeting orthopoxviruses.
Under the contract, Just – Evotec Biologics will develop drug product prototype(s) from discovery through the execution of Phase I first-in human (“FIH”) clinical trials. Discovery activities will include both discovery of new mAbs using AI-driven de novo antibody design and evaluation of existing mAbs. To enable rapid development, Just – Evotec Biologics will further leverage its technology platform, J.DESIGN, with activities including molecular optimisation, cell line and process development, and culminating in intensified continuous manufacturing at Just – Evotec Biologics’ advanced development and manufacturing facility - J.POD Redmond, WA (USA). In addition, Evotec will leverage its pre-clinical and clinical biologics development capabilities. The rapid, cost-efficient development of mAb product protypes will yield an accelerated supply of safe and efficacious mAb medical countermeasures (“MCMs”) for use against orthopoxviruses.
Dr Linda Zuckerman, Executive Vice President Global Head Biotherapeutics at Just – Evotec Biologics commented: “It is an honor to expand our collaboration with the DOD’s Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (“JPEO-CBRND”) with this second target program effort to support the DOD’s Accelerated Antibodies Program. We are pleased to bring critical capabilities in biologics development to accelerate this important program for the DOD.”
Dr Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive Officer of Evotec, added: “We are excited to expand our work for the DOD with this second programme of strategic national importance. Just – Evotec Biologics’ integrated J.DESIGN platform is the perfect fit for the swift and cost-efficient development and production of quality medical countermeasures and we are pleased to provide the DOD with an integrated discovery, development, and manufacturing solution.”
Mr Bruce Goodwin, Joint Project Lead for CBRND Enabling Biotechnologies, added: “JPEO-CBRND-EB is pleased to work with Just – Evotec Biologics on this innovative and significant program to protect the Warfighter.”
The contract was awarded to Just – Evotec Biologics by the DOD’s JPEO-CBRND Enabling Biotechnologies, in collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), through the Medical CBRN Defense Consortium, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) within the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR), through the Medical CBRN Defense Consortium (MCDC) Other Transaction Authority (OTA), under Contract number MCDC2203-001.
A first contract under the Accelerated Antibodies Program for the development of mAbs against plague was awarded to Just – Evotec Biologics in September of 2022.
Orthopoxviruses are a group of viruses that belong to the family Poxviridae. The most well-known orthopoxvirus is the eradicated variola virus, which is the causative agent of smallpox. Other well-known orthopoxviruses include monkeypox, cowpox, and vaccinia virus. While vaccines are available for some orthopoxviruses, such as variola and cowpox, there is currently no approved antibody treatment for infections caused by these viruses, and they remain a concern for public health.
J.DESIGN employs a series of innovative technologies relying on the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, intensified and continuous bioprocesses specifically designed for flexible and efficient biologics development, from discovery through to clinical and commercial manufacturing. The advanced Just – Evotec Biologics platform is specifically well suited for monoclonal antibodies as well as other protein modalities.