Boehringer forges alliance with U.K. exosome specialist Evox

New Evox CEO Antonin de Fougerolles says Boehringer adds to a growing list of collaborators.

Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim has entered into a deal with Evox Therapeutics, its second with a U.K.-based biotech in as many days.

The new agreement will see Boehringer and Evox collaborate on the development of RNA therapeutics delivered using Evox’s primary technology platform, which harnesses extracellular vesicles or exosomes—paired with targeting molecules—to transport large molecules into hard-to-reach organs such as the brain.

The early-stage collaboration focuses on putting the delivery technology through its paces in a battery of experimental models, and if those go well Boehringer “will have the option to negotiate a license agreement to further develop RNA drug candidates using Evox’s … technology.” There’s no word on financial terms or target indications, other than to say that they will be working on “targets for specific disease areas of focus to Boehringer.”

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Boehringer has been on something of a deal spree of late. Earlier today it bolstered its pipeline via a collaboration with Roche on inflammatory bowel disease drugs, and yesterday it took an option on a schizophrenia candidate developed by GlaxoSmithKline spinout Autifony. Last month it signed a licensing deal with Dicerna for a nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) candidate, and it has signed a series of immuno-oncology hookups this year with the likes of Siamab and AbeXXa.

It’s the first announcement of a major partner for Evox, which spun out of the University of Oxford last year with £10 million ($13 million) in seed funding and a pledge to develop new drugs for central nervous system and autoimmune diseases as well as cancer.

Last month the company appointed a new CEO, enticing Ablynx’s chief scientific officer Antonin de Fougerolles to the role, with former CEO Per Lundin moving to the chief operating officer position.

Commenting on the new agreement, Fougerolles said: “The use of exosomes as drug delivery vehicles provide significant advantages over other delivery methods as they can carry therapeutic molecules to difficult-to-reach target tissues.”

“We look forward to working with Boehringer Ingelheim to evaluate the potential of exosomes to deliver drugs to sites that are currently inaccessible by other means.”