Evotec announces potential $850m R&D partnership with Takeda

Germany’s Evotec has announced another high-profile R&D partnership with big pharma, beginning a multi-year R&D partnership with Takeda, focusing on discovering small molecule drugs that could be worth more than $850 million.

The companies, which have previously worked together on Alzheimer’s drugs, said that they will combine their expertise to find new medicines in Takeda’s four areas of focus – oncology, gastroenterology, neuroscience and rare diseases.

Following its $62 billion merger with Shire earlier this year, Takeda is looking to expand its pipeline to find new revenues to pay off the considerable debt it incurred to get the deal across the line.

In this latest collaboration the companies will establish at least five drug discovery programmes, with Evotec aiming to deliver clinical candidates for Takeda to test in trials.

Takeda will pay Evotec an undisclosed one-time upfront fee to access its drug discovery technology.

The German company will also receive payments upon achievement of certain preclinical, clinical and commercial goals, which could total more than $170m per drug, plus tiered royalties on future sales.

This is the latest in a series of high-profile collaborations involving Evotec: these include working with UK AI tech company Sensyne Health Oxford University on a project transforming research into new companies working on digital health and data-driven drug discovery.

Last year Evotec and Celgene joined forces to identify new drugs in oncology, focusing initially on solid tumours.

This built on a previous five year partnership with Celgene that began in 2017, to find therapies for degenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s.

And in June Evotec signed a deal with Sanofi that will see the French pharma’s infectious disease unit integrate into its organisation.

Evotec also licensed in most of Sanofi’s infectious disease research portfolio and initiatives, sealing negotiations that began in March last year.

Dr Craig Johnstone, chief operating officer of Evotec, added: “We are pleased to enter into another collaboration with Takeda, whose values are aligned with Evotec’s, including a shared commitment to translating highest quality science into highly innovative medicines. We believe this collaboration will be very fruitful for both parties and we are excited to combine our resources and skills to produce novel therapies.”

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