Hamburg, Germany, June 5, 2019 — Evotec SE announced that its strategic alliance with Celgene Corporation (“Celgene”) has been expanded to include a new cell type triggering a payment of $9.0 m to Evotec.
Evotec and Celgene initiated the collaboration in December 2016 to identify disease-modifying treatments for a broad range of neurodegenerative diseases. Since then, the companies have achieved several milestones including advancement of one programme into lead optimisation as well as including additional cell lines and now a new cell type.
Currently approved drugs only offer short-term management of the patients’ symptoms and there is a huge unmet medical need for therapeutic modalities that slow down or reverse disease progression in the field of neurodegenerative diseases. The collaboration pursues an innovative approach to the discovery and development of novel medicines by leveraging Evotec’s unique human iPSC technology platform, which is one of the largest and most sophisticated platforms in the industry.
Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec, commented:
“Patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases today have limited treatment options, the majority of which only support the management of symptoms but do not address the cause of their disease. With our iPSC platform and Celgene’s expertise, we feel confident to provide physicians with additional treatment options in the future and to deliver disease-modifying treatments to patients.”
About Evotec and iPSC
Induced pluripotent stem cells (also known as iPS cells or iPSCs) are a type of pluripotent stem cell that can be generated directly from adult cells. The iPSC technology was pioneered by Shinya Yamanaka’s lab in Kyoto, Japan, who showed in 2006 that the introduction of four specific genes encoding transcription factors could convert adult cells into pluripotent stem cells. He was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize along with Sir John Gurdon “for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent”.
Pluripotent stem cells hold great promise in the field of regenerative medicine. Because they can propagate indefinitely, as well as give rise to every other cell type in the body (such as neurons, heart, pancreatic and liver cells), they represent a single source of cells that could be used to replace those lost to damage or disease.
Evotec has built an industrialised iPSC infrastructure that represents one of the largest and most sophisticated iPSC platforms in the industry. Evotec’s iPSC platform has been developed over the last years with the goal to industrialise iPSC-based drug screening in terms of throughput, reproducibility and robustness to reach the highest industrial standards.
Abuot Evotec SE
Evotec is a drug discovery alliance and development partnership company focused on rapidly progressing innovative product approaches with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academics, patient advocacy groups and venture capitalists. We operate worldwide and our more than 2,600 employees provide the highest qualitystand-alone and integrated drug discovery and development solutions. We cover all activities from target-to-clinic to meet the industry’s need for innovation and efficiency in drug discovery and development (EVT Execute).
The Company has established a unique position by assembling top-class scientific experts and integrating state-of-the-art technologies as well as substantial experience and expertise in key therapeutic areas including neuronal diseases, diabetes and complications of diabetes, pain and inflammation, oncology, infectious diseases, respiratory diseases and fibrosis.
On this basis, Evotec has built a broad and deep pipeline of approx. 100 co-owned product opportunities at clinical, pre-clinical and discovery stages (EVT Innovate). Evotec has established multiple long-term alliances with partners including, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Celgene, CHDI, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Sanofi, Takeda, UCB and others.