Roche is retrieving the rights to a drug it believes could offer one piece of the puzzle that makes up Alzheimer's. Shares of Germany's Evotec ($EVT) shot up 16% this morning as news spread it had inked an $830 million pact--$10 million of that as an upfront payment--with Roche to develop and commercialize EVT-302, an experimental therapy for Alzheimer's. Roche had licensed the drug to Evotec 5 years ago, but it had failed as a treatment for smoking cessation, according to Bloomberg.
Under the terms of the deal, Roche is committed to begin studies in 2012 and will be responsible for all R&D costs. The drug targets an enzyme responsible for spurring the development of free radicals, which could contribute to the disease. And Roche will set out to determine if the compound could fit in a future combo treatment for the memory-wasting disease, which has stumped investigators for years.
"We have a disease out there which pharma has been been trying for decades to understand and so far it has not figured it out," Evotec CEO Werner Lanthaler told Bloomberg. "We are wise not to go into this alone because it would be impossible as a small biotech."
Jean-Jacques Garaud, head of Roche pharma research and early development, said, "The addition of EVT-302 to our CNS pipeline complements other approaches we are investigating including tau- and amyloid- targeted therapies."