Evotec spins off auto-immune disease company as 'Topas Therapeutics GmbH'


  • Topas Therapeutics GmbH is based on a proprietary nanoparticle platform which supports antigen-specific tolerance induction for multiple indications
  • Strong consortium consisting of Epidarex Capital, EMBL Ventures, Gimv and Evotec AG supports strategic Series A financing round of EUR 14 m
  • Initiation of first clinical trials expected in 2017


Hamburg, Germany - 22 March 2016: Evotec AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) today announced the formation of a spin-off company in the field of nanoparticle-based therapeutics to treat immunological disorders.
Epidarex Capital, EMBL Ventures and Gimv participated together with Evotec in the EUR 14 m ($ 15.75 m) Series A round of Topas Therapeutics GmbH. Evotec will remain the largest shareholder after the financing round. 

The new company, Topas Therapeutics GmbH ("Topas"), aims to build a unique pipeline of clinical-stage development projects to treat autoimmune diseases. The proceeds of the Series A funding enable Topas to expand and accelerate its proprietary liver-based tolerance induction platform and to progress with its own product development efforts in multiple autoimmune and inflammatory indications including multiple sclerosis into clinical proof-of-concept ("POC") stage. 

Dr Timm Jessen, Chief Executive Officer of Topas, stated: "We are delighted to engage with such a strong and experienced consortium of investors who share with us the excellence and commercial potential of this unique mode to induce antigen-specific tolerance in autoimmune diseases and beyond." 

Dr Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive Officer of Evotec and interim Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Topas, commented: "We are very excited by Topas' unique product-platform technology, which has significant breakthrough potential. The company formation of Topas is the first example of an acceleration of our business model representing an optimal risk-reward profile up to clinical proof-of-concept stage for our shareholders in selected fields of high strategic medical relevance." 

Peter Finan PhD, Partner at Epidarex Capital, commented: "Topas Therapeutics' unique approach to tolerance has the potential to lead to transformative medicines in diseases of high unmet medical need. We are delighted to have led the financing with such strong co-investors and we look forward to working closely with the Topas team to realise this potential."


Topas emerges from the neuro portfolio of Bionamics GmbH which was acquired by Evotec in March 2014 and is an early stage therapeutics company using ground breaking nanoparticle technology to target autoimmune and inflammatory diseases via the induction of antigen specific immune tolerance in the liver. The platform has been exclusively licensed from the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf ("UKE") where it was invented by Johannes Herkel, Jörg Heeren and other colleagues in Hamburg. It is anticipated that Topas will advance their initial programme targeting multiple sclerosis into clinical development in 2017. 


Epidarex Capital invests in early-stage, high growth life science and health technology companies in under-ventured markets within the UK and US. Epidarex was created to meet the need for more sector-specific risk capital for young companies, including spin-outs from leading research universities. The fund's international management team has a track record of successfully partnering with top scientists and entrepreneurs to develop highly innovative products for the global healthcare market. For further information please visit www.epidarex.com 


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.