Evotec to acquire Gates Foundation-backed Just Biotherapeutics

Biotech-CRO hybrid Evotec is continuing its deals, buys and collaborations strategy with its acquisition of U.S. biologics company Just Biotherapeutics.

The German company is spending a small sum, just $90 million, on its latest purchase, but boosts its offering in biologics oncology, central nervous system disorders, pain, inflammation, metabolics and infectious diseases.

Just Bio works on tech for design, development and manufacturing of biologics. Evotec gains the company's expertise, 90 employees and its discovery, development and manufacturing facility in Seattle.

The CDMO came into public life in the summer of 2016 with a simple idea: Breakthrough biologics aren’t for everyone. They’re typically priced so that their use is confined to insured patients in the U.S. and Europe, in addition to wealthy self-paying patients around the world.

So, the Seattle startup launched to change that with a team lifted from major biologics and biosimilars player Amgen as well as major financial backing from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation along with Merck, Lilly Asia Ventures and ARCH Venture Partners

In a nutshell, Just Bio aims to reduce the costs that restrict access to therapeutic proteins for most patients who need them. It’s focused specifically on new designs to create better therapeutic molecules at more efficient manufacturing plants. And this aim is not just to make products for the developing world, but for also for use in developed nations.

This adds to the growing catalog of deals Evotec has penned over the years, including a $65 million cancer drug pact with Celgene signed last May, a preclinical diabetes pact with Novo Nordisk in August and a deal to buy up Sanofi’s infectious disease business for $70 million last summer.