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GEN News Highlights : Dec 15, 2010

MedImmune Nabs Evotec’s Beta Cell Regeneration Portfolio for €5M Up Front

Diabetes deal could be worth another €254 million in deferred payments and milestones.

AstraZeneca’s MedImmune biologics unit is paying Evotec €5 million (about $6.6 million) up front as part of a license and collaboration agreement with the latter’s Develogen subsidiary focused on the development of diabetes therapies for regenerating insulin-producing beta cells.

The license gives MedImmune exclusive access to a portfolio of research programs and represents Evotec’s first deal on beta cell regeneration assets. Evotec could be eligible for additional deferred payments including potential clinical, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments of up to €254 million (roughly $336 million), plus royalties. The firm will also receive research funding to support in vitro and in vivo pharmacology work in collaboration with MedImmune.

“Using a unique screening approach for beta cell regeneration targets, we have identified and validated novel and highly relevant biological factors,” comments Cord Dohrmann, Ph.D., Evotec CSO. “The most advanced factor has demonstrated efficacy in animal models of beta cell regeneration in particular increasing the functional beta cell mass and thereby improving and restoring glycemic control. Dr Dohrmann claims MedImmune’s expertise in biopharma research and protein production and engineering make it a perfect partner. “Together we intend to generate a pipeline of biological factors that have the potential to prevent or reverse disease progression, and confer optimal glycemic control in patients.”