Progressing patient-derived material a 'key strategic focus,' says Evotec CEO

Patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) are reprogrammed into an embryonic-like pluripotent state, enabling researchers to develop various human cells. (Image: iStock/Dr_Microbe)

Evotec and Fraunhofer IME-SP have signed a strategic collaboration to advance Evotec’s patient-derived iPSC platform and subsequent drug discovery projects.

The contract research organization (CRO) originally entered into an exclusive strategic collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME, ScreeningPort (Fraunhofer IME-SP) in July 2014.

According to the company, the most recent announcement is an important element of the existing agreement, as part of which Fraunhofer IME-SP is providing Evotec access to its technology portfolio, which includes advanced genetic characterization techniques and quality control procedures. The technology will support Evotec's patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) platform.

Fraunhofer and Evotec are building a technology portfolio including advanced genetic characterization techniques and innovative quality control procedures to support Evotec’s patient-derived iPSC platform and with this to initiate drug-discovery projects,” Dr. Werner Lanthaler, Evotec CEO, told Outsourcing-Pharma.com.

The contract, financial details of which were not disclosed, will run for an initial period of two years.

For Evotec it is key to build a systematic, unbiased and comprehensive drug discovery platform that is especially suited also to define new starting points for very complex diseases,” he said. “The constant upgrade to better understand and progress patient derived material is for us a key strategic focus.”

In line with this, Evotec has several existing iPSC-based alliances with Sanofi and Celgene, among others.

The €250m ($293.81) iPSC-based diabetes alliance with Sanofi was signed in March 2015 and is slated to run five years. Additionally, in December 2016, Evotec signed a five-year neurodegeneration alliance with Celgene, under which the CRO received an upfront payment of $45m (€38.29).

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