Sanofi and Evotec align forces to develop next generation therapies in diabetes


  • Development of beta cell replacement therapy
  • Discovery and development of beta cell modulating drugs
  • Risk-shared transaction exceeding EUR 300 m milestone potential and significant royalties for Evotec 


Hamburg, Germany - 07 August 2015: Evotec AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) and Sanofi today announced a strategic collaboration in the field of diabetes. The goal of this collaboration will be to develop a beta cell replacement therapy based on functional human beta cells derived from human stem cells. In addition, Sanofi and Evotec will also use human beta cells for high-throughput drug screening to identify beta cell active small molecules or biologics. 

Both companies will make significant contributions to this collaboration in terms of expertise, platforms and resources. The collaboration will further enhance and complement Sanofi's extensive diabetes portfolio and will extend Evotec's metabolic disease and stem cell-based drug discovery programs. 

The agreement between Evotec and Sanofi triggers an upfront payment of EUR 3 m, potential pre-clinical, clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones which could total over EUR 300 m as well as significant royalties and research payments. 

Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec, commented: "The use of human stem cells in drug discovery and development is on the rise and will increasingly shift the landscape from symptomatic treatments to disease-modifying therapies also in diabetes. We are very proud to partner with Sanofi, one of the leading diabetes companies in this exciting novel field of drug discovery and development." 

Philip Larsen, MD, PhD, Vice President, Global Head of Diabetes Research and Translational Science at Sanofi, added: "Combining Sanofi's and Evotec's beta cell and stem cell expertise in drug discovery and development will enable optimal exploitation of the potential of stem cell derived human beta cells for therapy and drug screening in diabetes. We are excited about the prospects of this collaboration as both companies provide highly complementary expertise to translate human stem cell technologies into highly innovative new products." 


Beta cells play a key role in the pathogenesis of diabetes, a condition which currently affects 387 million patients worldwide. Beta cells reside in clusters of hormone producing cells ("islets") within the pancreas. They respond to elevated blood glucose levels (e.g. after a meal) by secreting the glucose lowering hormone insulin. In the type 1 form of diabetes ("T1D"), beta cells are destroyed by the patient's own immune system. As a result, T1D patients have to follow a life-long regimen of carefully dosed insulin injections. In patients with type 2 diabetes ("T2D"), beta cells are functionally impaired and yet have to work in the presence of metabolic stress and increased work load due to an impaired tissue insulin response. T2D is progressive, and current therapeutic options cannot prevent the deterioration of beta cell function, eventually also creating a need for insulin injections. Insulin injections represent a significant burden to patients. They cannot fully mimic the normal control of blood glucose levels by normal beta cells, frequently resulting in debilitating acute and long-term complications. There is an enormous medical need for novel therapeutic options which can restore beta cell mass and thereby reduce or eliminate the need for insulin injections, or which can prevent or reverse the decline in beta cell function in type 2 diabetes.


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.