Evotec launches “beLAB2122”, translating academic innovation from leading German life science region in collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb




Hamburg, Germany, 13 April 2021:
Evotec SE (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, MDAX/TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) announced today that the Company has launched beLAB2122, a translational $ 20 million BRIDGE in collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY). beLAB2122 brings together leading academic institutions from the Rhine-Main-Neckar region of Germany with the goal of efficiently advancing first-in-class therapeutic options across all therapeutic areas and formats into investable drug discovery and early development projects. 

Mediated and supported by BioRN, the Life Science Cluster Rhein Neckar, beLAB2122 for the first time brings together the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (“EMBL”), the German Cancer Research Center (“DKFZ”), the Goethe University Frankfurt, Heidelberg University and the University of Tübingen in one collaboration with industry partners. Evotec’s BRIDGE (Biomedical Research, Innovation & Development Generation Efficiency) collaborations provide an integrated fund and award framework to validate exciting academic projects in collaborations with pharma and funders which may lead to the formation of jointly owned new companies. Since 2016, Evotec has established several BRIDGE collaborations with a variety of academic, pharma, and venture capital partners across Europe and North America.

Evotec launches beLAB2122 in cooperation with Bristol Myers Squibb, Evotec’s long-standing collaborator in drug discovery across several therapeutic areas. Together the sponsors intend to tap into Europe’s foremost academic clusters of excellence in the life sciences, both validating and advancing innovative research in therapeutics and related technologies from academia to enable the formation of new, collectively owned spin-out companies.

Dr Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive Officer of Evotec, said: “We are very excited about the launch of beLAB2122, a truly transformative framework that leverages first-class science from one of Europe’s leading life science cluster regions with lots of potential to generate medical progress. We look forward to unlocking this potential by using our ‘data-driven R&D Autobahn to Cures’ to further validate and develop these approaches to translate the promising early-stage research into the medicines of the future.”

Dr Thomas Hanke, Head of Academic Partnerships at Evotec, added: “We are delighted to see the first BRIDGE in Germany becoming reality and look forward to working closely with our academic partners in the Rhine-Main-Neckar area and our colleagues at Bristol Myers Squibb to identify and accelerate the next generation of first-in-class therapeutics across all modalities and therapeutic areas. We would also like to particularly thank BioRN for continuously supporting beLAB2122.”

Dr Rupert Vessey, Executive Vice President and President, Research and Early Development at Bristol Myers Squibb commented: “We are excited by the opportunity to support beLAB2122 in the translation of novel scientific research from these leading German academic institutions. Given their past experience with successful BRIDGEs, we believe Evotec is well-equipped to interpret the many lines of scientific inquiry resulting from this collaboration and use its proprietary platforms to deliver quality data that may one day lead to potentially novel therapies for patients.”

Prof. Matthias Hentze, EMBL Director, said: „This collaboration has been established at a time of increasing awareness that the efficient and rapid translation of research outcomes is essential. beLAB2122 is a transformative collaboration to accelerate the validation of therapeutic concepts for the benefit of society. EMBL, as Europe’s leading molecular biology research institute, is delighted to be part of this initiative along with some of the most renowned institutes in the region and beyond. With Evotec and Bristol Myers Squibb this collaboration has world-renowned industrial sponsors to help bring successful ideas into the market and to foster cutting-edge research and innovation.”

Dr Rainer Wessel, Chief Innovation Officer, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), added: “For DKFZ, a major goal is to foster transfer of our excellent research into highly innovative applications that benefit cancer patients world wide. The beLAB2122 collaboration is a major step in gaining critical mass and speed together with other scientific and commercial leaders to achieve that goal.”

Prof. Dr Manfred Schubert-Zsilavecz, Vice President of Goethe University Frankfurt responsible for the Third Mission and Professor for Medicinal Chemistry, pointed out: “Pharmaceutical and translational medical research are two of the key strengths of Goethe University Frankfurt, and numerous of our research projects aim to contribute to closing the innovation gap in drug development. We are extremely happy to be part of the beLAB2122 research network in order to boost cooperation between academic and industrial research, for the sake of suffering patients.”

Prof. Dr Matthias Weidemüller, Vice-Rector Innovation and Transfer, Heidelberg University, affirmed: “Heidelberg University is excited to be part of the Evotec BRIDGE collaboration beLAB2122. It is of fundamental importance that our cutting-edge research be translated into applications on a broader scale. This collaboration brings together leading institutions in the Rhine-Main-Neckar region that conduct research at the forefront of life science. I am positive that – within the BRIDGE framework – we can generate added momentum for converting scientific achievements into future therapeutics.”

Prof. Dr Peter Grathwohl, Vice-President of Research and Innovation of the University of Tübingen, joined: “The University of Tübingen is delighted to be part of beLAB2122. The transfer of research results to application is very important to us: In the future, we want to provide excellent opportunities for our researchers to contribute their expertise to concrete collaboration projects with sponsors in economy and industry.”

The name beLAB2122 refers to the Rhine, Main, and Neckar rivers which connect the member institutions with one another and which total 2,122 kilometres in length. For further information on beLAB2122, please visit www.belab2122.org.

About Evotec’s BRIDGE model: Collaborating to accelerate innovation

Evotec has created a new paradigm to translate early-stage academic research to drug discovery and development called “BRIDGE” (Biomedical Research, Innovation & Development Generation Efficiency), an integrated fund and award framework to tap into exciting academic science to accelerate the formation of spin-out companies and generate collaborations with Pharma and biotech. Through these efforts, Evotec has defined a new formula for fast-track early-stage drug discovery. Since the launch of the BRIDGE model in 2016, Evotec has formed and funded a number of different collaborations, e.g. LAB282, LAB150, LAB031, LAB10x, and Autobahn Labs. For more information about Evotec’s BRIDGE initiatives, please go to www.evotec.com/en/innovate/bridges.



Bristol Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol Myers Squibb, visit us at BMS.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.




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.