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Evotec AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) today announced that it has entered into a research collaboration with the Center for Regenerative Therapies TU Dresden (“CRTD”) to discover novel small molecule candidates for retinal diseases. CRTD is a recognised leader in understanding the biology of stem cells to develop new therapies for neurodegenerative and haematological diseases. Under the terms of the collaboration, Evotec will leverage CRTD’s expertise in stem cell-based retinal disease modelling and will apply its leading induced pluripotent stem cell (“iPSC”) technology platform to identify promising drug candidates for potential clinical development.
The global retinal dystrophy market – which includes both rare genetic diseases as well as glaucoma, AMD and diabetic retinopathy – represents millions of patients. Whilst cell replacement and gene therapies will likely play an important role in the future, there continues to be a need for small molecule treatments as both monotherapy and in combination with other therapies. Through the use of patient-derived iPSCs and subsequent differentiation into various cell types contained in the retina, the collaboration aims to build highly relevant “disease-in-a-dish” models that may lead to potential cures for the major causes of blindness.
Prof. Ezio Bonifacio, Director, CRTD, said: “As an academic institution where our employees and students hail from more than 30 different countries, CRTD was founded on scientific principles that support strong interdisciplinary research on a global scale. Due to this, we recognise the importance of generating more productive relationships between academia and industry across all countries. As a leading discovery alliance partner, we believe that Evotec shares our bold vision and are very pleased to collaborate with the company under its EVT Innovate platform. We look forward to working closely with our colleagues at Evotec to discover new therapeutic approaches for retinal diseases and laying the groundwork for better overall human health.”
Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec, commented: “We are very pleased to enter into this collaboration with CRTD in the field of retinal diseases, which constitutes a market of enormous unmet medical need. CRTD is a world leader in stem cell-derived modelling of retinal disease and thus fits perfectly into our strategy to continue to build and expand Evotec’s unique iPSC based drug discovery platform.”
Financial terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.
ABOUT THE CENTER FOR REGENERATIVE THERAPIES DRESDEN (CRTD)
Founded in 2006, the DFG Research Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD), Cluster of Excellence at the Technische Universität Dresden, focuses research on the elucidation of the regenerative potential of human cells and tissues and aims to develop novel therapies for hitherto untreatable diseases. Basic and clinical research programs are focused on the key areas of haematology and immunology, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and bone regeneration. CRTD is part of the Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering (CMCB), a central institute of the Technische Universität Dresden. For more information go to www.crt-dresden.de and @CRTDpress.
ABOUT EVOTEC AG
Evotec is a drug discovery alliance and development partnership company focused on rapidly progressing innovative product approaches with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academics, patient advocacy groups and venture capitalists. We operate worldwide providing the highest quality stand-alone and integrated drug discovery solutions, covering all activities from target-to-clinic to meet the industry’s need for innovation and efficiency in drug discovery (EVT Execute). The Company has established a unique position by assembling top-class scientific experts and integrating state-of-the-art technologies as well as substantial experience and expertise in key therapeutic areas including neuroscience, diabetes and complications of diabetes, pain and inflammation, oncology and infectious diseases. On this basis, Evotec has built a broad and deep pipeline of more than 80 partnered product opportunities at clinical, pre-clinical and discovery stages (EVT Innovate). Evotec has established multiple long-term discovery alliances with partners including Bayer, CHDI, Sanofi or UCB and development partnerships with e.g. with Sanofi in the field of diabetes, with Pfizer in the field of tissue fibrosis and Celgene in the field of neurodegenerative diseases. For additional information please go to www.evotec.com and follow us on Twitter @EvotecAG