Evotec OAI and Novartis intensify collaboration

Hamburg, Germany | Abingdon, UK - Evotec OAI AG, Hamburg, Germany (Neuer Markt: EVT), a supplier of integrated high value added drug discovery services, announced today that its long-term partner Novartis will acquire additional Evotec OAI screening devices (EVOscreen®) exceeding  the scope agreed in the original screening technology contract signed in 1996.
The EVOscreen® Mark II system delivered to Novartis in summer 2000 has successfully proven itself as a successful screening platform in Novartis' internal operations. The robust automation, superior data quality and the throughput of the system led Novartis to broaden the application of this technology. To this end, Novartis commissioned Evotec OAI, to upgrade the current EVOscreen® Mark II system in Basel to even further increase its throughput. In addition, Novartis decided to implement the next generation of the EVOscreen® technology, the so-called Mark III system. Simultaneously, Novartis ordered additional benchtop devices in order to secure a corresponding capacity increase also in assay development.
"We are proud that Novartis decided to intensify the relationship with Evotec OAI beyond the original contract. This proves both Novartis' high degree of trust in our technology and their appreciation of our collaboration," said Dr Timm Jessen, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec OAI.
"Novartis' decision to invest in EVOscreen® technology early in 1996 as Evotec OAI's first technology development partner has proven to be right. Based on our positive experience, we trust in the EVOscreen® platform for miniaturised high-throughput screening," added Dr Lorenz Mayr, Technology Program Head, NanoScreening Program, Novartis Pharma AG.
General information about EVOscreen® Mark III
The new generation of EVOscreen® technology, EVOscreen® Mark III, builds on the success of the Mark II concept. However, through the integration of a series of important technological advances, it further broadens the drug discovery service portfolio of Evotec OAI. Evotec OAI's proprietary technologies allow the throughput of Mark III to be well above 100,000 tests per day. The integration of a special cell dispensing unit and a combined fluorescence and chemiluminescence detection system makes the system also suited for the performance of cellular assays. In addition, an open system architecture simplifies the use of external components giving Evotec OAI the flexibility to stay on the cutting edge of screening technology combining its own developments with standard external solutions. The results achieved in previous nanoscreening campaigns in terms of robustness, precision and data quality were excellent and significantly exceeded agreed pass criteria.
About Evotec OAI AG
Evotec OAI offers a comprehensive range of high-value added services and products required to increase the efficiency and at the same time reduce the risk in the identification of new drugs. By integrating proprietary state-of-the-art technologies and processes in biology, chemistry and screening, the Company has established a unique position for all the critical elements in the drug discovery and development process - from target to clinical development. Due to its extensive know how and experience Evotec OAI is the ideal partner for pharma and biotech companies world-wide. To date, Evotec OAI has completed over 1,200 projects with 150 companies, including all of the top 20 global pharmaceutical companies and major biotechs.
The Company employs nearly 600 people, primarily at its two main sites at Hamburg in Germany and Abingdon in the UK. Subsidiaries are located in Europe and North America. In 2001 Evotec OAI achieved revenues of EUR 63.2 million. Evotec OAI shares are listed on the Neuer Markt of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since November 1999 (NM: EVT).
About Novartis AG
Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) is a world leader in healthcare with core businesses in pharmaceuticals, consumer health, generics, eye-care, and animal health. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ about 71 000 people and operate in over 140 countries around the world. For further information
please consult http://www.novartis.com.