Evotec said today it won a €1.5 million ($1.9 million) milestone payment from Boehringer Ingelheim for advancing an undisclosed pain compound into preclinical development.

The payment marks the 18th milestone achieved under Evotec’s nine-year-old research alliance with BI, and the first to be announced this year. The companies entered into a multi-year, multi-target drug discovery alliance in 2004, with the goal of jointly identifying and developing preclinical development candidates for various disease areas including CNS, inflammation, cardiometabolic, and respiratory diseases.

The collaboration was extended in 2009 for an additional four years, and its scope expanded to include oncology targets.

Under their agreement, BI has full ownership and global responsibility for clinical development, manufacturing, and commercialization of identified compounds, while Evotec receives in return ongoing research payments and preclinical milestones. The agreement also provides Evotec with potential payments for successful milestone achievements during clinical development, as well as royalties when new drugs reach the market.

Last year, Evotec racked up €13.5 million ($17.4 million) in revenue from BI, its top collaboration partner. That accounted for nearly 21% of the total €65.2 million earned in 2012 by Evotec from its top 10 collaborations, the company said in its 2012 annual report.

And through its acquisition of DeveloGen in 2010, Evotec has a separate collaboration with BI focused on developing small molecules to treat type 2 diabetes by targeting insulin resistance without causing weight gain. Under that collaboration, Evotec says it could receive up to €237 million in milestone payments plus “significant” royalties.

BI is one of several drug developers with which Evotec has long-term discovery alliances; the others include Bayer, CHDI, Genentech, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, MedImmune/AstraZeneca, and Ono Pharmaceutical.

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