Evotec, a drug discovery alliance and development partnership company, has formed a research collaboration and licensing deal with Debiopharm Group, a Swiss-based global biopharmaceutical group, to identify and develop novel compounds having the potential to treat multiple forms of solid tumors and leukemias with defined genetic alterations.
Discovery and preclinical development efforts will be driven by Evotec, while Debiopharm will manage clinical development. Evotec will receive R&D funding and high double-digit total payments triggered by clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones, plus royalties on sales of resulting commercial products.
This program is based on Evotec's drug discovery efforts to investigate genetically altered targets whose “driver” role in several cancer types has been validated and on the shared objective of identifying novel therapeutic agents in a variety of cancers, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), prostate cancer and glioblastoma. Evotec is able to apply a broad range of highly sophisticated drug discovery tools including state-of-the-art mass spectrometry and structure-based drug design for rapid and efficient development of highly promising lead series. Debiopharm is experienced in taking to maturity promising early stage biological or small molecule drug candidates from preclinical to clinical development phase I, II and III, including subsequent out-licensing to pharmaceutical partners for sales and marketing.
Evotec also has entered into a research alliance with Panion, a subsidiary of Convergence Pharmaceuticals Holdings. Convergence is a U.K. company focused on the development of novel, high value analgesics to treat chronic pain. Panion has been awarded a $4 million Technology Strategy Board Biomedical Catalyst Early Stage Round 2 grant to discover and develop compounds against a novel GPCR pain target. Evotec will be responsible for undertaking key drug discovery activities and will work closely with the Convergence team in identifying preclinical candidates over the next three years. Subsequently, and upon meeting certain preclinical milestones, Convergence and Evotec will jointly progress the assets further into the clinic or via partnering. Financial details have not been undisclosed.