(13th Jun 2007) Evotec AG acquires NMR Fragment-Based Drug Discovery Business from MerLion Pharmaceuticals' subsidiary, Combinature Biopharm AG
Evotec AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT) announced today that it has enhanced its Fragment-Based Drug Discovery business through the acquisition of selected assets from Combinature Biopharm. Evotec has acquired equipment and expertise in NMR screening as well as access to the SAR-by-NMR™ intellectual property, licensed from Abbott. Through the addition of these assets, Evotec is able to integrate NMR-based screening technologies together with the SAR-by-NMR™ technique with its proprietary high throughput high concentration biochemical assay approach, offering a unique solution for Fragment-Based Drug Discovery for its internal pipeline of projects for partnering and also for collaborative research. In addition, the acquisition will add a library of fragments augmenting Evotec's fragment library to 30,000, the largest available fragment library from any of the independent fragment based drug discovery companies.
Evotec's Innovation Centre for Fragment Based Drug Discovery (FBDD)
Evotec has established a unique and powerful platform for Fragment-Based Drug Discovery (FBDD). Its EVOlution™ technology is used to screen its library of fragments in a high throughput mode and to carry out subsequent protein-ligand crystallography. Leveraging its expertise in medicinal chemistry with its fragment optimisation technology, Evotec is able to rapidly progress fragments identified into lead optimisation.
The NMR-based screening technology is complementary to other screening technologies because its high sensitivity enables the identification of weakly binding ligands, allows for site-selective screening and can thus help to accelerate lead optimisation. The SAR-by-NMR™ technique locates distinctly different yet proximal sites to which fragment molecules bind on a protein's surface such that the two fragments can be linked together in the proper orientation to provide potent molecules that do not exist in corporate libraries and cannot be found using conventional methods.
"We are delighted to have acquired these high-quality assets today. This NMR screening capability further enhances our leading expertise in fragment-based drug discovery and thereby increase our competitive advantage in this important area of research", commented Dr Mario Polywka, Chief Operating Officer of Evotec. "Fragment-based approaches have become increasingly important in modern drug discovery as they give access to novel chemical matter around targets previously intractable to traditional discovery approaches."
"We see this development as an exciting opportunity to bring our successful NMR screening group into the environment needed for its future substantial growth. It will also allow us to focus our efforts into the advancement of our antibiotic pipeline, which has two novel candidates ready to enter clinical development" explains Dr. Harald Labischinski, CEO of Combinature Biopharm AG and CSO of their holding company, MerLion Pharmaceuticals Pte. Ltd.
Notes to the editor:
Evotec's Innovation Centres
Evotec's Innovation Centres are scientific centres focussed on bringing innovation to the pharmaceutical industry. They are centred around core technologies that have been shown to increase the efficiency of the drug discovery and development process. In addition to utilising core expertise from within Evotec they access leading edge science through external Scientific Advisory Boards.
In addition to FBDD Evotec is establishing Innovation Centre's in other core areas that it feels will bring significant innovation to the drug discovery process.
About Evotec AG
Evotec is a leader in the discovery and development of novel small molecule drugs. Both through its own discovery programmes and through research collaborations, the Company is generating the highest quality research results to its partners in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
In proprietary projects, Evotec specialises in finding new treatments for diseases of the Central Nervous System. Evotec has three programmes in clinical development: EVT 201, a partial positive allosteric modulator (pPAM) of the GABAA receptor complex for the treatment of insomnia, EVT 101, a subtype selective NMDA receptor antagonist for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and/or pain, and EVT 302, a MAO-B inhibitor in development for smoking cessation.
In research collaborations, Evotec has established itself as the partner of choice for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide. The Company provides innovative and often integrated solutions from drug target to clinic through an unmatched range of capabilities, including early stage assay development and screening through to medicinal chemistry and drug manufacturing.
About MerLion Pharmaceuticals Pte Ltd
MerLion Pharmaceuticals is a privately held international drug discovery and development company headquartered in Singapore.
MerLion has a balanced portfolio of assets that includes several clinical stage antibiotic candidates, a unique patent position in the area of bacterial virulence, innovative screening approaches and access to the proprietary discovery technologies of its many risk-share partners.
The company's current collaboration partners include Abbott Laboratories, Arpida SA, Astellas Pharma Inc., Boehringer Ingelheim, Cancer Research Technologies Ltd., Dow AgroSciences, Merck Banyu, Merck & Co, Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases, Pfizer Inc., Sankyo Co Ltd. and Schering-Plough Research Institute.