Evotec in neurology iPSC drug discovery collaboration with stem-cell specialist Censo

Evotec reached iPSC drug discovery collaboration with Censo Biotechnologies. (Getty/kasto80)

Evotec has reached a collaboration with Censo Biotechnologies, using the latter’s patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) to expand its platform for drug discovery.

Scientists get iPSCs by reprograming human adult somatic cells to make them resemble embryonic stem cells, which can become any cell type of the body. For this alliance, Censo will use its donors sourcing and cell reprograming technologies to create a bespoke library of hundreds of patient-derived iPS cell lines, and Evotec will use them for target validation, drug screening, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics analyses.

These stem cell-like cells created from people suffering from a disease allow researchers to replicate or mimic the disease ex vivo under lab conditions. This approach is particularly helpful for understanding of the mechanism of diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. The current contract between Evotec and Censo, with an initial two-year term, will first focus on central nervous system diseases, an area that both companies excel in.

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The Hamburg, Germany-based Evotec has been involved in neurological research for over two decades, having taken part in the discovery process of about a dozen preclinical candidates. The CRO’s expertise spans some key target classes such as enzymes, GPCRs and ion channels, and in therapeutic areas of neurodegenerative diseases, neuroinflammation, among others.

Censo is the product of a 2016 merger between Roslin Cellab and Roslin Cell Sciences—two spinouts from the Roslin Institute both focused on using stem cells for drug discovery. Operating from its Edinburgh and Cambridge facilities in the U.K., Censo can generate iPSCs from large cohorts of samples for drug researches, and usually partner with other companies for assay development.