Evotec and Oxford University hand out first drug discovery awards

The $16.2 million fund will be used to help speed up early research work in promising therapy areas

German CRO-biotech hybrid Evotec and England’s Oxford University have granted their first set of awards that will help fund projects targeting CV and infectious diseases, with more to come in the summer.

The so-called ‘LAB282’ is a £13 million ($16.2 million) drug discovery partnership signed last November with the University’s science R&D Innovation unit as the pair look to help speed up translational life sciences research.

Its first grants, which also comes with some physical help from Evotec, goes toward preclinical proof-of-concept work to “accelerate projects into a position where they can be commercialised and scaled up efficiently and effectively,” according to the company’s statement.

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So far, two projects have been chosen: “Drugs from bugs” that is working on evasins, a potential treatment for cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases derived from the saliva of ticks; and DarTG, a potential new target for the development of antibiotics that could shut down TB and several other pathogens. The next round of grants awards is due in June 2017.

Dr Thomas Hanke, head of academic partnerships at Evotec, said: “I am excited and very pleased we were able to select two outstanding and truly translational projects from a panel of high-quality applications for the first round of LAB282 awards.

“I am very much looking forward to closely collaborating with the Oxford University and Evotec teams in accelerating bona fide drug discovery from the awarded projects.”