Evotec Receives Grant from Open Philanthropy for Discovery of RNA-Targeting Henipavirus Therapeutics
- $ 1.7 M-GRANT FROM OPEN PHILANTHROPY WILL SUPPORT DEVELOPMENT OF SMALL MOLECULE ANTIVIRALS THAT TARGET VIRAL RNA IN HENIPAVIRUSES
- EVOTEC LEVERAGES ITS PROPRIETARY SMALL MOLECULE RNA TARGETING PLATFORM
- HENIPAVIRAL AGENTS ARE PRIORITY PATHOGENS LISTED ON THE WHO'S R&D BLUEPRINT LIST OF EPIDEMIC THREATS NEEDING URGENT R&D ACTION
HAMBURG, GERMANY / ACCESSWIRE / June 2, 2023 / Evotec SE (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, ISIN: DE0005664809; NASDAQ: EVO) today announced that the Company has received a $ 1.7 m grant from Open Philanthropy, a philanthropic funder prioritising global health and wellbeing. Under the grant, Evotec aims to discover and develop RNA-targeting small molecules as potential first-in-class therapeutics against Henipaviruses.
Henipavirus is a genus of zoonotic viruses that can cause fatal encephalitis in humans. The genus comprises six different established species including Hendra virus and Nipah virus, from which it receives its name. The World Health Organization lists henipaviral agents as R&D Blueprint Priority Pathogens, indicating their pandemic potential. Currently there are no approved drugs or vaccines for neither Hendra nor Nipah virus infections available underlining an urgent need for accelerated research and development.
Under the grant, Evotec will leverage its RNA-targeting small molecules ("rSM") platform to identify promising RNA sequences to target with small molecule ligands that can be developed into potentially first-in-class therapeutics.
Dr Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive Officer of Evotec, commented: "Mission-driven foundations are key for our long-term strategy. This is the first time that we have been supported by Open Philanthropy and we are very excited about this opportunity. The grant will enable us to pursue an innovative RNA-targeting approach to address the pandemic challenges posed by Henipaviruses. Through PRROTECT, we strive to make a meaningful contribution to achieve targets set under the UN Sustainable Development Goal ("SDG") No 3 and make new, safe and effective treatment options available for these pandemic threats."
Henipavirus is a genus of viruses in the family Paramyxoviridae, containing six established species. They derive their name from two of these species, Nipah virus and Hendra virus. Henipaviruses are zoonotic, meaning that they are transmitted from animals to humans, and were first identified in the mid 1990s. Infection in humans causes a range of illnesses, from asymptomatic infection (subclinical) to acute respiratory infection and fatal encephalitis. Nipah virus outbreaks in India and Bangladesh have occurred with high case fatality estimated at 40% to 75%. This rate can vary by outbreak depending on local capabilities for epidemiological surveillance and clinical management. Although Nipah virus has caused only a few known outbreaks in Asia, it infects a wide range of animals and causes severe disease and death in people, making it a public health concern. There is no treatment or vaccine available and the primary treatment for humans is supportive care. Therefore, Nipah virus is one of the pathogens in the WHO R&D Blueprint list of epidemic threats needing urgent R&D action.
About Evotec's RNA-targeting small molecules platform
The structure-based recognition of RNA tertiary structures by RNA-targeted small molecules ("rSM") provides an alternative to sequence-based approaches, such as antisense oligonucleotides ("ASOs"). rSM approaches enable novel therapeutic potential by allowing to target highly conserved parts of RNA, creating pathways in cases where the encoded protein cannot be targeted conventionally, and unlocking the largely unexplored field of non-coding RNAs, which can also be disease drivers.
Evotec's proprietary RNA targeting platform is specifically designed to
- identify RNA tertiary structural elements where rSM are able to bind with sufficient selectivity and affinity,
- discover and develop suitable rSM binders that potentially deliver orally available drugs, and
- identify and deliver proof-of-target engagement for disease-relevant RNA structures, allowing biologically active rSM binders.
Evotec's cutting-edge RNA small molecule platform builds on the well-established drug discovery routes within Evotec and combines them with novel, highly innovative technologies such as third generation sequencing, sequencing-based structure elucidation of RNA molecules, which constitute a first-class expertise in this area.
To prepare against future pandemics, Evotec has initiated the global networking initiative PRROTECT (pandemic Preparedness and Rapid RespOnse TEChnology plaTform). PRROTECT builds on Evotec's existing anti-viral therapeutics portfolio and leverages the Company's platforms to further broaden its existing modality-agnostic pipeline against viral threats, while at the same time accelerating R&D timelines for neutralising antibodies, and creating a flexible manufacturing network to deliver such therapeutics in the event of a future pandemic.
ABOUT OPEN PHILANTHROPY
Open Philanthropy identifies outstanding giving opportunities, makes grants, and follows the results. Its mission is to give as effectively as it can. www.openphilanthropy.org
ABOUT EVOTEC SE
Evotec is a life science company with a unique business model that delivers on its mission to discover and develop highly effective therapeutics and make them available to the patients. The Company's multimodality platform comprises a unique combination of innovative technologies, data and science for the discovery, development, and production of first-in-class and best-in-class pharmaceutical products. Evotec leverages this "Data-driven R&D Autobahn to Cures" for proprietary projects and within a network of partners including all Top 20 Pharma and over 800 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, as well as other healthcare stakeholders. Evotec has strategic activities in a broad range of currently underserved therapeutic areas, including e.g. neurology, oncology, as well as metabolic and infectious diseases. Within these areas of expertise, Evotec aims to create the world-leading co-owned pipeline for innovative therapeutics and has to-date established a portfolio of more than 200 proprietary and co-owned R&D projects from early discovery to clinical development. Evotec operates globally with more than 4,900 highly qualified people. The Company's 17 sites offer highly synergistic technologies and services and operate as complementary clusters of excellence. For additional information please go to www.evotec.com and follow us on Twitter @Evotec and LinkedIn.
This announcement contains forward-looking statements concerning future events, including the proposed offering and listing of Evotec's securities. Words such as "anticipate," "believe," "could," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "might," "plan," "potential," "should," "target," "would" and variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements include comments regarding Evotec's expectations for revenues, Group EBITDA and unpartnered R&D expenses. These forward-looking statements are based on the information available to, and the expectations and assumptions deemed reasonable by Evotec at the time these statements were made. No assurance can be given that such expectations will prove to have been correct. These statements involve known and unknown risks and are based upon a number of assumptions and estimates, which are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond the control of Evotec. Evotec expressly disclaims any obligations or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in Evotec's expectations with respect thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any statement is based.
Media Contact Evotec SE:
Gabriele Hansen, SVP Head of Global Corporate Communications, Gabriele.Hansen@evotec.eu
Hinnerk Rohwedder, Director of Global Corporate Communications, Hinnerk.Rohwedder@evotec.eu
IR Contact Evotec SE:
Volker Braun, SVP Head of Global Investor Relations & ESG, Volker.Braun@evotec.eu
SOURCE: Evotec SE
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