Evotec Enters Multiple Drug Discovery Pacts

26.08.2020 - German drug discovery and development company Evotec has struck four separate partnership agreements during August.

The most recent deal is with German rare disease specialist Centogene, under which the two firms will work together to research and develop therapeutic options related to the deficiency of the protein target glucocerebrosidase (GB). This gene is linked to Gaucher disease, an inherited lysosomal storage disorder.

The collaboration, which combines Evotec’s induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) platform with Centogen’s proprietary rare disease platform, builds on an existing partnership that the companies formed in 2018 to discover and develop novel small molecules in rare hereditary metabolic diseases.

A second collaboration is with Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk for developing treatments for chronic kidney disease (CKD). The companies will jointly identify and develop novel targets based on comprehensive medical and molecular data sets of thousands of CKD patients. Evotec said they intend to pursue the most relevant human disease biology in a modality-agnostic approach to develop first-in-class CKD therapeutics.

“Based on a better understanding of disease-driving molecular mechanisms we aim to develop disease-modifying therapies, which are urgently needed,” said Evotec’s chief scientific officer Cord Dohrmann.

Under the terms of the agreement, Evotec will receive an undisclosed sum upfront as well as research funding and potential milestone payments of more than €150 million per product, plus tiered royalties on net sales. Novo Nordisk will be responsible for clinical development and commercialization.

Infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance are the focus for the third partnership with biotech Resolute Therapeutics. The partners aim to develop a novel broad-spectrum antibiotic with both Gram-positive and Gram-negative coverage for indications that include complicated urinary tract, intra-abdominal infections and hospital-acquired pneumonia.

Non-profit partnership Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X) is funding the project, providing up to $2.91 million over the next two years plus an additional $5.53 million over the following three years if certain milestones are met.

Erin Duffy, R&D chief at CARB-X, said Evotec’s compounds constitute a new antibacterial class that would represent “significant progress in the race against drug-resistant pathogens.”

The fourth collaboration is with Secarna Pharmaceuticals in the field of antisense oligonucleotide (ASO)-based therapeutics. Antisense therapy is a highly targeted pharmacological approach that interferes with gene expression to specifically inhibit the production of proteins that promote disease development and progression.

Evotec said they have laid the basis for a long-term platform collaboration spanning a number of targets and indications, adding that  they have identified the first program and are now progressing toward establishing a pipeline of co-owned ASO therapies.


Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist