Adding Cell Types Supports Drug Discovery of Disease-Modifying Therapies for Neurodegenerative Diseases and Triggues U.S. $6 M Payment to Evotec
Hamburg, Germany, January 7, 2020 – Evotec SE (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, MDAX/TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) announced today that the Company received a US$ 6 m payment from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) following the decision to expand the collaboration to include additional cell lines.
Evotec and Celgene, which is now a Bristol-Myers Squibb company, initiated the collaboration in December 2016 to identify disease-modifying treatments for a broad range of neurodegenerative diseases. Currently approved drugs only offer short-term management of patients’ symptoms and there is a huge unmet medical need for therapies that slow down or reverse disease progression in the field of neurodegenerative diseases.
This collaboration pursues an innovative approach to the discovery and development of novel medicines by leveraging several of Evotec’s unique technology platforms in conjunction with the human iPSC based platform, which is one of the largest and most sophisticated platforms in the industry. The iPSC partnership between Bristol-Myers Squibb and Evotec has already been expanded with additional cell lines several times.
Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec, commented: “We are very pleased about this latest expansion of our iPSC-alliance with Bristol-Myers Squibb. Patient-derived disease models will be instrumental to improving the translatability of pre-clinical discovery efforts into clinical benefits and we are proud to leverage our proprietary iPSC platform together with Bristol-Myers Squibb for the benefit of the 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.