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QC for Alzheimer’s disease
January 2013
by Lloyd Dunlap  |  Email the author


HAMBURG, Germany—Evotec AG has entered into a collaboration with Probiodrug AG, a privately owned biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of innovative drugs for the treatment of major age-related diseases. Under the terms of the agreement, Evotec will set up and validate assays to support the preclinical and clinical development of glutaminyl cyclase (QC) inhibitors for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Glutaminyl cyclase is a novel proprietary enzyme target discovered and validated by Probiodrug that is thought to play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of AD and possibility other diseases.

Dr. Mario Polywka, chief operating officer of Evotec, comments that "we knew Probiodrug's CEO from some previous interactions. Probiodrug had raised money to run the clinical trial but had little discovery resources and capacity left, so we were ideally suited, since we have experience with some of the assay types and also the capacity and throughput to run multiple samples. We are pleased to enter this new collaboration with Probiodrug to use our first-class assay development capabilities to support the preclinical and clinical development of QC inhibitors in Alzheimer's disease and other indications. This is a good example of how Evotec can support biotech companies with their specific drug discovery needs."

"The collaboration will allow us to focus on the further preclinical and clinical development of our programs in neurodegeneration/AD. Evotec, with its proven track record, is ideally suited to accompany this process by running existing and developing new biological assays," adds Hendrik Liebers, chief financial officer of Probiodrug.

Probiodrug is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of small-molecule drugs against novel molecular targets for the treatment of neuronal and inflammatory diseases. The company claims to have a dominant position in the area of glutaminyl cyclase inhibition. Glutaminyl cyclase, a novel enzyme target discovered and patented by Probiodrug, is thought to have a crucial role in the pathogenesis of AD as well as various peripheral inflammatory diseases. The company's core capabilities are based on its longstanding expertise in the elucidation of the structure and function of enzymes that play a central role in the maturation of hormones.

The company has pioneered the field of dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DP4)-inhibition for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Compounds and technology patents of its DP4 program in diabetes have been licensed to various pharmaceutical companies.

In 2004, all metabolic assets were sold to OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc. The first drug based on Probiodrug's technologies reached the market in late 2006. Proceeds of the various transactions have been reinvested by the company to fund the novel approach for the treatment of AD and inflammatory diseases.

Evotec is a "drug discovery alliance and development partnership company" focused on rapidly progressing innovative product approaches with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The company has staked out a position in key therapeutic areas including neuroscience, pain and metabolic diseases, as well as oncology and inflammation.

Evotec's strategy is predicated on three building blocks, says Polywka: "Evotec Execute, where we offer standalone drug discovery services like the collaboration with Probiodrug. This strategy is key to us maintaining a platform to deliver on the other two businesses. The first of these is Evotec Integrate, where we drive full drug discovery programs on our partners' targets and have some financial share in the success of the projects through milestones and royalties, along with more normal research fees. Finally, Evotec Innovate is our program where we partner assets derived from academia or our own accelerated innovation with pharma companies. This typically has upfront payments, premium research payments and milestones and royalties associated with the programs."
Evotec has long-term discovery alliances with Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, CHDI, Janssen, Genentech, Medimmune/AstraZeneca and Ono Pharmaceutical.

Evotec partners with Haplogen to develop drugs for infectious diseases

HAMBURG, Germany—Evotec AG also announced last month a collaboration agreement with Haplogen GmbH to develop small molecules against viral infectious diseases.

Under the agreement, Haplogen and Evotec will codevelop drugs against a human protein that is essential for pathogenic viruses to infect their host cell. This protein was discovered by Haplogen's technology to identify host factors for infectious human pathogens. Evotec will further develop Haplogen's lead compounds and apply its drug discovery platform to find additional small-molecule inhibitors.

"Part of Evotec's strategy is to pursue innovative, early-stage projects and develop them to a partnering position before the clinic," said Mario Polywka, chief operating officer of Evotec, in a statement. "Haplogen's powerful target discovery technology is an excellent complement to Evotec's small-molecule discovery and development capabilities. We hope that this is the start of a long-term relationship."

Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

Code: E011305



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