Evotec and its partners awarded public grants to develop new drug candidates to treat multiple sclerosis


Hamburg, Germany - 24 September 2014: Evotec AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) announced today that it has entered into three novel research projects for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis ("MS") supported by research funds from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research ("BMBF").

The respective scientific approaches stem from the Deutsches Rheuma-Forschungszentrum ("DRFZ"; an institute of the Leibniz Association; Prof. A. Hamann) and the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf ("UKE"; Prof. M. Friese; Dr J. Herkel) comprising cytokine regulation, neuroprotection and tolerance induction.

Evotec will utilise its drug discovery platform, its project management capabilities and its market presence to identify drug candidates in these novel approaches to tackle MS and to commercialise those later on. Current MS treatments mostly constitute disease-modifying approaches while more specific or well-differentiated alternative treatment modes are eagerly looked for by the industry. The three projects have a term of between 1.5 and 3 years and comprise a total budget of about EUR 5 m.

Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec, commented: "These novel approaches to fight MS, the disease with the highest socioeconomic impact worldwide, perfectly fit to our EVT Innovate strategy to approach disease-modifying innovation and to identify first-in-class molecules eagerly sought for by the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. We are proud to partner with these leading German research institutions and groups to translate their exceptional disease know-how into drug candidates and furthermore into novel products." 


Multiple sclerosis ("MS") is an inflammatory and neurodegenerative disease in which the insulating covers of nerve cells (myelin sheath) in the brain and spinal cord are damaged. This damage disrupts the ability of parts of the nervous system to communicate, resulting in a wide range of signs and symptoms, including physical, mental, and sometimes psychiatric problems. MS takes several forms, with new symptoms either occurring in isolated attacks (relapsing forms) or building up over time (progressive forms). Between attacks, symptoms may disappear completely; however, permanent neurological problems often occur, especially as the disease advances. MS is usually diagnosed based on the presenting signs and symptoms and the results of supporting medical tests. There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis. Treatments attempt to improve function after an attack and prevent new attacks. Medications used to treat MS while modestly effective can have adverse effects and be poorly tolerated. Life expectancy is on average 5 to 10 years lower than that of an unaffected population.


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