On a Partnering Spree, Evotec Announces New Janssen Alliance


Evotec SE is on a deal-making spree. The company just inked another contract, this time with Janssen Pharmaceutical that showcases its end-to-end integrated drug discovery and development platform.

Germany-based Evotec’s Tuesday announcement with Janssen, a division of Johnson & Johnson, aims to harness the capabilities of its TargetAlloMod platform and develop novel therapeutics in the field of protein homeostasis. Under terms of the deal, Evotec could receive €210 million per project (about $219 million) plus royalties on any sales from products that are eventually commercialized.

In its announcement, Evotec noted that the partnership, which does not disclose potential target indications, was facilitated by Janssen.

For Evotec, the deal with Janssen follows close on the heels of a protein degradation pact with pharma giant Bristol Myers Squibb. BMS and Evotec expanded a protein degradation partnership in neuroscience earlier this year. BMS is harnessing Evotec’s technology to develop novel targeted protein degradation therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s. That collaboration will harness the capabilities of two other Evotec platforms, its proprietary EVO panOmics and EVO panHunter platforms. Those platforms are designed to work side-by-side to support an Omics-driven precision medicine approach.

With the latest deal, Janssen and Evotec will jointly screen identified targets and “collaborate with hit identification and lead optimization of the most promising chemical assets,” the companies said.

Evotec Chief Scientific Officer Cord Dohrmann expressed excitement about the collaboration. He said the companies will work together on “unique approaches to high potential cell surface drug targets with novel therapeutic modalities” and potentially develop new and innovative therapeutics for patients.

Evotec’s TargetAlloMod platform harnesses a suite of assay technologies and computational tools that can “assess and screen extracellular receptor targets for shedding and the induction of shedding by small-molecule allosteric modulators,” according to company data. The company found that some small molecules can bind allosterically and induce a natural proteolytic cleavage process to shed the ectodomain, the company said. TargetAlloMod has applications across multiple therapeutic spaces, Evotec said.

In addition to Janssen and BMS, Evotec has also partnered with Canada’s Sernova Corp. and with Spain’s Almirall S.A. With Sernova, the company will help develop an off-the-shelf beta cell replacement therapy for insulin-dependent diabetes patients. With Almirall, Evotec will use its platform to develop new therapeutics for severe diseases of the skin, including non-melanoma skin cancers and immune-mediated inflammatory conditions.

That’s not the only diabetes partnership Evotec has forged over the past few months. In January, the company partnered with Eli Lilly in metabolic diseases with a focus on kidney disease and diabetes. That partnership will rely on the use of Evotec’s kidney disease database and its data-driven drug discovery platforms.

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