QC for Alzheimer’s disease

Evotec collaborates with Probiodrug on glutaminyl cyclase (QC) inhibitors

Lloyd Dunlap
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HAMBURG, Germany—Evotec AG hasentered into a collaboration with Probiodrug AG, a privately ownedbiopharmaceutical company focused on the development of innovativedrugs for the treatment of major age-related diseases. Under theterms of the agreement, Evotec will set up and validate assays tosupport the preclinical and clinical development of glutaminylcyclase (QC) inhibitors for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease(AD).

Glutaminyl cyclase is a novelproprietary enzyme target discovered and validated by Probiodrug thatis thought to play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of AD andpossibility other diseases.

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

"The collaboration will allow us tofocus on the further preclinical and clinical development of ourprograms in neurodegeneration/AD. Evotec, with its proven trackrecord, is ideally suited to accompany this process by runningexisting and developing new biological assays," adds HendrikLiebers, chief financial officer of Probiodrug.

Probiodrug is a biopharmaceuticalcompany dedicated to the discovery and development of small-moleculedrugs against novel molecular targets for the treatment of neuronaland inflammatory diseases. The company claims to have a dominantposition in the area of glutaminyl cyclase inhibition. Glutaminylcyclase, a novel enzyme target discovered and patented by Probiodrug,is thought to have a crucial role in the pathogenesis of AD as wellas various peripheral inflammatory diseases. The company's corecapabilities are based on its longstanding expertise in theelucidation of the structure and function of enzymes that play acentral role in the maturation of hormones.

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

In 2004, all metabolic assets were soldto OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc. The first drug based on Probiodrug'stechnologies reached the market in late 2006. Proceeds of the varioustransactions have been reinvested by the company to fund the novelapproach for the treatment of AD and inflammatory diseases.

Evotec is a "drug discovery allianceand development partnership company" focused on rapidly progressinginnovative product approaches with leading pharmaceutical andbiotechnology companies. The company has staked out a position in keytherapeutic areas including neuroscience, pain and metabolicdiseases, as well as oncology and inflammation.

Evotec's strategy is predicated onthree building blocks, says Polywka: "Evotec Execute, where weoffer standalone drug discovery services like the collaboration withProbiodrug. This strategy is key to us maintaining a platform todeliver on the other two businesses. The first of these is EvotecIntegrate, where we drive full drug discovery programs on ourpartners' targets and have some financial share in the success ofthe projects through milestones and royalties, along with more normalresearch fees. Finally, Evotec Innovate is our program where wepartner assets derived from academia or our own acceleratedinnovation with pharma companies. This typically has upfrontpayments, premium research payments and milestones and royaltiesassociated with the programs."
Evotec has long-term discoveryalliances with Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, CHDI, Janssen, Genentech,Medimmune/AstraZeneca and Ono Pharmaceutical.

Evotec partners with Haplogen todevelop drugs for infectious diseases

HAMBURG, Germany—Evotec AG alsoannounced last month a collaboration agreement with Haplogen GmbH todevelop small molecules against viral infectious diseases.

Under the agreement, Haplogen andEvotec will codevelop drugs against a human protein that is essentialfor pathogenic viruses to infect their host cell. This protein wasdiscovered by Haplogen's technology to identify host factors forinfectious human pathogens. Evotec will further develop Haplogen'slead compounds and apply its drug discovery platform to findadditional small-molecule inhibitors.

"Part of Evotec's strategy is topursue innovative, early-stage projects and develop them to apartnering position before the clinic," said Mario Polywka, chiefoperating officer of Evotec, in a statement. "Haplogen's powerfultarget discovery technology is an excellent complement to Evotec'ssmall-molecule discovery and development capabilities. We hope thatthis is the start of a long-term relationship."

Financial terms of the partnership werenot disclosed.


Lloyd Dunlap

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