Evotec and Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf Enter Partnership to Develop iPSC-Based Tissue Therapy for Heart Failure




Hamburg, Germany, 04 February, 2021: 
Evotec SE (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, MDAX/TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) today announced that the Company has entered into a multi-year partnership with the Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (“UKE”) for the development of a highly innovative first-in-class cell therapy approach for the treatment of heart failure.

Under the terms of the partnership, Evotec and UKE will leverage their complementary strengths for the development of a new cell therapy approach using Engineered Heart Tissue for the treatment of heart failure. Heart failure is frequently associated with ischemic heart disease and often comes with a poor prognosis. Mortality is comparable to that of the most common cancers, with <50% 4-year survival. Treatment of patients suffering from heart failure is expected to deliver significant patient benefit through improved heart function, ultimately leading to an improved prognosis.

Evotec leverages its industry-leading human induced pluripotent stem cells (“hiPSCs”) platform to establish GMP-compatible process development and upscaling for large-scale generation of clinical-grade heart muscle cells known as cardiomyocytes. Evotec will also contribute genetically modified GMP iPSC lines, which contain alterations preventing rejection of the cardiomyocyte-containing product by patient immune systems (“cloaking”), and include additional safety mechanisms to control unwanted proliferation of graft cells. By using these GMP-grade iPSC lines, the project will deliver off-the-shelf products, which can be implanted in broad patient populations with little to no immunosuppression. 

UKE applies its proprietary Giga Patch Method for the generation of fully functional heart tissue suitable for cardiac transplantation. Further in vivo validation and development activities will be shared jointly between the partners. Evotec will be responsible for GMP and pre-clinical activities as well as for any subsequent partnering of the programme.

Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec, commented: “We are very excited about this collaboration with the UKE. Both Evotec and UKE have developed and refined their respective technology platforms over a number of years and have now decided to jointly drive this cardiac cell therapy programme towards clinical development. We are confident that this partnership will deliver a new therapeutic option for patients who suffer from heart failure.”

Prof. Dr Thomas Eschenhagen, Director of the Institute of Experimental Pharmacology and Toxicology at UKE, added: “We are excited about the new opportunities the partnership with Evotec will create. After having worked on means to repair injured heart by 3-dimensional heart muscle patches for over two decades, joining forces with Evotec and its industrialized hiPSC platform and new cell lines, will bring this development to a new stage. We are aiming at the most efficient and safest therapy in the field.”

“We are very happy to see a scientific success story advance to a feat of technology transfer. Translation of scientific insights into therapeutic options is a key mission of our University Medical Center”, says Prof. Dr Blanche Schwappach-Pignataro, the Dean of Faculty of Medicine of the UKE.

No financial terms of the agreement were disclosed.


About heart failure

Heart failure is a severe global health burden with more than 26 million people suffering with the condition worldwide, disproportionately affecting elderly people. While there are options to treat heart failure both medicinally and with devices, there is currently no treatment that targets the cause of the disease or significantly slows down its progression.


About Evotec and iPSC

Induced pluripotent stem cells (also known as iPS cells or iPSCs) are a type of pluripotent stem cell that can be generated directly from adult cells. Pluripotent stem cells hold great promise in the field of regenerative medicine. Because they can propagate indefinitely, as well as give rise to every other cell type in the body (such as neurons, heart, pancreatic and liver cells), they represent a single source of cells that could be used to replace those lost to damage or disease.

Evotec has built an industrialised iPSC infrastructure that represents one of the largest and most sophisticated iPSC platforms in the industry. Evotec’s iPSC platform has been developed over the last years with the goal to industrialise iPSC-based drug screening in terms of throughput, reproducibility and robustness to reach the highest industrial standards, and to use iPSC-based cells in cell therapy approaches via the Company’s proprietary EVOcells platform.



Since its foundation in 1889, the Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) has been one of the leading clinics in Europe. With about 13,600 employees, the UKE is one of the largest employers in Hamburg. Each year, the UKE treats around 511,000 patients, 106,000 of whom are inpatients and 405,000 outpatients. The emphasis in UKE’s research are the neurosciences, cardiovascular research, care research, oncology, as well as infections and inflammations. Other potential areas of the UKE are molecular imaging and skeletal biology research. The UKE trains about 3,400 medical specialists and dentists.

Knowledge, Research, Healing through Shared Competence: The UKE | www.uke.de



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.