Evotec lends its R&D might to the multiple sclerosis cause

Germany's Evotec has joined a trio of research projects focused on multiple sclerosis, contributing its developmental know-how to some early-stage R&D.

The hybrid research organization is on tap to help out with a German government-sponsored effort to look at three pathways of treating the inflammatory disease: cytokine regulation, neuroprotection and tolerance induction. Evotec will lend out its drug discovery platform, project-management capabilities and industry connections to each effort, hoping to identify new candidates that go beyond treating the effects of MS and get to the root of the disease.

The projects range in length from 18 months to three years, Evotec said, and carry a total budget of roughly $6.3 million.

For Evotec, which splits its business into the CRO-like EVT Execute and R&D-focused EVT Innovate, the three deals complement its core competency, Chief Scientific Officer Cord Dohrmann said.

"These novel approaches to fight MS, the disease with the highest socioeconomic impact worldwide, perfectly fit to our EVT Innovate strategy to approach disease-modifying innovation and to identify first-in-class molecules eagerly sought for by the biotech and pharmaceutical industry," Dohrmann said in a statement. "We are proud to partner with these leading German research institutions and groups to translate their exceptional disease know-how into drug candidates and furthermore into novel products."

The Hamburg-headquartered company struck up a similar deal earlier this month, working with private researcher CHDI Foundation to spotlight new treatments for Huntington's disease.

Meanwhile, Evotec is fighting to regain millions in lost rights payments tied to Diapep277, the diabetes treatment at the heart of Hyperion Therapeutics' ($HPTX) $570 million deal for Andromeda Biotech. This month, Hyperion revealed that it was halting work on the drug after discovering that Andromeda staffers had falsified trial data. Evotec, which holds some royalty rights on the treatment, is now taking legal action in the matter.

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