Evotec Acquires Zebrafish Screening Operations of Summit Corporation


  • Strong addition to Evotec's core business in drug discovery
  • Acquisition against £ 0.5 million cash in 2009 expected to add approximately £ 1.5 million revenues in 2010
  • Additional expansion of geographic reach to Asia


Hamburg, Germany - Evotec AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT; NASDAQ: EVTC) today announced that the Company will acquire the zebrafish screening operations of Summit Corporation plc, including operations in Abingdon, UK, and Singapore, for £ 0.5 million in cash.

Summit's zebrafish technology is a strong addition to Evotec's industrialized high-quality drug discovery platform. This capability is valuable to drug discovery as it provides important whole organism data about the safety and toxicity of drug-like molecules at an early stage of lead optimization. It thereby allows prioritization of the most promising compounds early in the drug discovery process, reducing the risk of potential later-stage failure and, ultimately, lowering costs in drug discovery and development.

Founded in 2003, Summit has built the world's leading zebrafish capability. The company had collaborated with more than 25 pharmaceutical companies worldwide. The alliances include a three-year research agreement with Johnson & Johnson signed at the end of 2008 to support the development of new assays using the zebrafish platform as well as collaborations with Bayer-Schering, Merck KGaA, Merz, Roche and Servier. Evotec expects this business to contribute revenue in 2009 (May to December) and to rapidly grow revenue and profitability over the next two years.

Dr Mario Polywka, Chief Operating Officer of Evotec commented: "We get access to a portfolio of validated safety pharmacology and toxicology assays and disease models for target validation that enjoy growing interest in our industry. The integration of this business offers significant synergies, including the move of Summit's UK operations into our facilities in Abingdon, the integration of this offering into our global sales and marketing network as well as the use of the Singapore facility as a base to target new growth markets in the Far East, expanding our current business reach."

Dr Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive Officer of Evotec, added: "Through this small acquisition of Summit's zebrafish operations we are enhancing our world-class drug discovery platform. Besides strict cost containment one core element of our Evotec 2012 Action Plan to Focus and Grow is the further investment and expansion of our unique Discovery Alliance Business. This transaction is a first example of how we will continue to develop this business to build on our world-class leadership role." 


Background information

About zebrafish screening technology

Zebrafish have the potential to accelerate and de-risk the drug discovery and development process by reducing attrition rates and lowering the development cost of producing new drugs. Zebrafish are well-characterised model organisms and are used in the screening of potential drug candidates to provide invaluable in vivo safety and efficacy data from the earliest stages of drug discovery and throughout the development process. With a significant genetic similarity to humans and the presence of many vital organs including the heart, brain and liver, the larval zebra-fish is highly suitable for screening potential drug candidates for efficacy and safety effects. Screening in zebrafish provides many advantages over other established in vivo models by allowing large numbers of compounds to be rapidly profiled using small amounts of compound.

Summit has developed a range of high-throughput safety pharmacology and toxicity screens and also several important zebrafish disease models that can be used to identify and evaluate potential new drug candidates.

Forward-Looking Statements

Information set forth in this press release contains forward-looking statements, which involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about our expectations and assumptions concerning future revenues in connection with the acquisition of Summit's zebrafish screening operations, the capabilities of zebrafish technology and its value to the drug discovery process, regulatory, clinical and business strategies, the progress of our clinical development programs and timing of the results of our clinical trials, strategic collaborations and management's plans, objectives and strategies. These 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. In particular, the risks and uncertainties include, among other things: risks that product candidates may fail in the clinic or may not be successfully marketed or manufactured; risks relating to our ability to advance the development of product candidates currently in the pipeline or in clinical trials; our inability to further identify, develop and achieve commercial success for new products and technologies; the risks that competing products may be more successful; our inability to interest potential partners in our technologies and products; our inability to achieve commercial success for our products and technologies; our inability to protect our intellectual property and the cost of enforcing or defending our intellectual property rights; our failure to comply with regulations relating to our products and product candidates, including FDA requirements; the risk that the FDA may interpret the results of our studies differently than we have; the risk that clinical trials may not result in marketable products; the risk that we may be unable to successfully secure regulatory approval of and market our drug candidates; and risks of new, changing and competitive technologies and regulations in the U.S. and internationally.

The list of risks above is not exhaustive. Our most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other documents filed with, or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission, contain additional factors that could impact our businesses and financial performance. 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.