Evotec teams up with Pfizer for fibrosis R&D

Hybrid R&D outfit Evotec signed a deal with Pfizer ($PFE) to collaborate on tissue fibrosis research, lending its expertise and discovery technology to the pharma giant in exchange for a cut of the benefits.

Under the agreement, the German-headquartered Evotec will work alongside Pfizer's drug hunters to spotlight new fibrosis treatments under a four-year collaboration. Evotec plans to employ its Sanofi ($SNY)-backed compound library and discovery platform in the partnership, while Pfizer is supplying the necessary technology, industrial prowess and marketing know-how, the companies said.

Neither firm is disclosing financial details, saying only that Evotec is due an undisclosed upfront sum plus future payments tied to development milestones.

The goal is to ferret out novel mechanisms of combating fibrosis, a tissue-scarring condition that can prove fatal, and the partners hope to discover new targeted therapies that attack the root cause of the disorder in multiple organs.

For Evotec, the deal builds upon its growing reputation as a go-to R&D partner for major drugmakers, following similar agreements with Roche ($RHHBY), Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), Bayer and others. The company employs a hybrid business model, operating at once as a traditional CRO and as a biotech company developing proprietary drugs.

Important to Evotec's future in the industry is a cross-cutting deal with Sanofi, closed earlier this year, through which the pharma giant is paying its partner at least €250 million over 5 years to handle much of the heavy lifting in its early-stage pipeline. Through that arrangement, Evotec is tasked with advancing a host of discovery-stage Sanofi candidates toward preclinical development, at which point the French drugmaker will have the option of either taking over each project or finding an outside outfit to buy in. For its trouble, Evotec inherited a long-embattled Sanofi R&D site in France, bringing aboard about 200 new researchers.

- read the statement (PDF)

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