Evotec teams with Johnson & Johnson Innovation to identify novel Alzheimer's Disease therapies

Evotec AG announced its second major collaboration in recent weeks, this time with the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center in California to identify new targets for Alzheimer's disease drug discovery and development. Under the terms of the agreement, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a member of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, and Evotec will work together to discover and develop novel treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

Lloyd Dunlap
HAMBURG, Germany—Evotec AG announced its second major collaboration in recent weeks, this time with the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center in California to identify new targets for Alzheimer's disease drug discovery and development. Under the terms of the agreement, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a member of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, and Evotec will work together to discover and develop novel treatments for Alzheimer's disease.
 
As DDNews reported last month, Evotec also partnered recently with AstraZeneca with the two having signed an agreement to take joint action to combat kidney diseases. Initial focus of their alliance will be exploring compounds and targets with novel mechanisms that have disease-modifying potential for the treatment of chronic kidney disease.

Termed TargetAD (Alzheimer's disease), the new partnership with Janssen will seek to identify new drug targets for discovery of novel treatment approaches to Alzheimer's disease. Janssen will fund target discovery research via a combination of defined research payments and progress-related milestones over the next three years. The TargetAD database is a customized system providing unique information on the link between molecular and cellular changes in brain tissue with AD progression, Evotec states in its press release. This database was set up in a multi-year research program, applying histological, cellular and in-vivo target validation procedures. The database provides a foundation for systematic collaborative target validation and compound discovery programs.

Janssen will have the opportunity to internalize selected targets and therapeutic candidates from the TargetAD database and progress them into pre-clinical and clinical development. Janssen will reimburse up to $ 10 million in FTE-based research costs and make pre-clinical, clinical, regulatory and commercial payments up to a maximum of from approximately $125 million to $145 million per program upon achieving agreed-upon milestones. In addition, Evotec will receive royalties on future sales of any products that may result from the alliance.

Evotec's proprietary TargetAD database provides a source of potentially novel Alzheimer's disease drug targets derived from the analysis of dysregulated genes in high-quality and well-characterized human brain tissues representing all stages of disease progression as well as control tissues from non-demented subjects. Identifying new targets for drug development based on disease pathology may have the potential to impact the disease at its earliest stages, resulting in greater therapeutic benefit to patients.

Dr. Cord Dohrmann, chief scientific officer of Evotec, added: “The TargetAD alliance provides a systematic and comprehensive approach to the discovery of novel drug AD targets which leverages Evotec's strength in neuroscience discovery with Janssen's pre-clinical and clinical drug development capabilities for the discovery of novel treatments for Alzheimer's disease.”

Evotec has long-term discovery alliances with many partners including Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, CHDI, Genentech, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, MedImmune/AstraZeneca and Ono Pharmaceutical. In addition, the Company has existing development partnerships and product candidates both in clinical and pre-clinical development. These include partnerships with Boehringer Ingelheim, MedImmune and Andromeda (Teva) in the field of diabetes, with Janssen Pharmaceuticals in the field of depression and with Roche in the field of Alzheimer's disease.

Lloyd Dunlap

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