Oxford Uni joins biotech Evotec in R&D partnership


Oxford University and German drug discovery company Evotec are to work together to develop next-generation medicines for serious and debilitating diseases.

Working with Evotec could help the university, one of the world's leading academic centres, to generate more value around potential drug candidates, making them more attractive to biotech and pharma - or a more viable basis for new spin-out companies.

Evotec will join Oxford University, its technology transfer arm Oxford University Innovation (OUI) and the £300 million Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI) fund to create the public-private partnership, called ‘Lab282’ based around drug candidates emerging from the university's research.

The partnership will provide a £13m fund, open now to biomedical researchers at Oxford, and an expert in residence in the university to aid the rapid translation of research into new drug discovery and development programmes.

The ultimate goal of Lab282 is to accelerate the development of new treatments and cures for serious and debilitating disease.

Projects could be in any therapeutic area, and from any therapeutic modality, and will be carried out exclusively by Oxford University researchers, coordinated by OUI.

Funding will come from OSI, and Evotec will contribute its drug discovery expertise and platforms to select projects and develop them.

Researchers can apply for awards of up to £250,000, and more in exceptional circumstances.

Evotec will help find new projects, who will second a drug discovery expert in residence, embedded in the university.

Should projects funded by Lab282 yield positive results, spin-out companies from the university will be formed to further develop new therapies, supported by the Lab282 partners and/or new investors.

The Lab282 partnership is for an initial period of three years. Dr Adam Stoten, head of technology transfer, life sciences at OUI, said: “This pioneering approach addresses a major unmet need by engaging Lab282’s partners, together offering world class medical research, commercial drug discovery expertise and facilities, and significant investment resources.”

“Today’s announcement provides another great example of how UK universities are at the forefront of collaborative public-private drug discovery partnerships with the goal of changing the course of human health in the interest of patients, healthcare and the economy.”