Evotec receives $45M up front and could receive another $250M in milestones

Celgene is paying Evotec $45 million up front as part of a broad, five-year R&D collaboration that will leverage Evotec’s induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) screening platform to identify disease-modifying drugs targeting a range of neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.  

The deal gives Celgene exclusive options to license the worldwide rights to Evotec compounds identified from the latter’s compound library. Evotec could receive up to $250 million in milestones, plus double-digit sales royalties. Celgene also has the option to use the Evotec iPSC screening platform to evaluate compounds from its own CELMoD® library, in models of neurodegenerative diseases.

“We are very pleased to enter into our first neurodegeneration collaboration with Evotec and look forward to the screening of their compound libraries using their proprietary iPSC platform,” commented Rupert Vessey, evp and president of research and early development at Celgene. “Recent breakthroughs in our understanding of the mechanism of action of the CELMoD library may enable the discovery of other related compounds that can direct the degradation of proteins known to be neurotoxic.”

Evotec’s iPSC screening platform has been developed through a research collaboration and license agreement with Harvard University, and in particular the CureMotorNeuron initiative, as well as through the firm’s 10-year collaboration with the CHDI Foundation.

The deal with Celgene coincides with Evotec confirming completion of its £55.7 million ($69.3 million) acquisition of U.K.-based preclinical CRO Cyprotex. Earlier in December Evotec announced an alliance with Forge Therapeutics focused on developing the latter’s LpxC inhibitors against drug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria.


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