Bristol Myers greenlights neurodegenerative medicine from Evotec pact for $20M

Evotec is headed to the bank with a cool $20 million after Bristol Myers Squibb opted in on a neurodegenerative medicine called EVT8683.

The licensing opt-in could also trigger $250 million in milestone payments down the line plus royalties on future sales.

EVT8683 is the first treatment to emerge from a collaboration Evotec signed back in 2016 with Celgene, the company that was gobbled up by Bristol Myers soon after. The $45 million upfront deal includes programs for other neurodegenerative diseases as well, with $250 million in milestones up for grabs if successful. Bristol Myers expanded the deal in 2020 to include additional cell lines for a $6 million payment to Evotec.

Evotec said that the small-molecule therapy EVT8683 is ready for clinical development after the FDA cleared a request for human testing. The biotech developed the therapy from its induced pluripotent stem cell drug discovery platform, which screens human models to find new therapies quickly.

RELATED: Bristol Myers' $1.2B discovery pact with Exscientia strikes gold as first drug candidate selected

The companies did not name the specific indications that will be targeted with the new therapy. Bristol Myers will lead development and commercialization from this point.

Bristol Myers’ opt-in with Evotec is the latest sign that the new parent company is getting what it paid for through the $74 billion deal to buy Celgene.

New York-based Bristol Myers also opted in on an immune system modulator from artificial-intelligence-powered drug miner Exscientia for $20 million in August. The therapy is the first to emerge from a $1.2 billion partnership Celgene signed with Exscientia in 2019.

Cancer and inflammatory disease-focused Celgene seems to have brought in plenty of open-ended discovery deals to stock Bristol Myers’ pipeline.