UCB taps Evotec to pitch in on drug discovery

Belgian drugmaker UCB recruited Evotec to oversee its library of chemical compounds, enlisting the German company's expertise in hopes of easing the drug discovery process.

Under the partnership, Evotec will manage UCB's samples and compounds out of the Toulouse, France, facility it picked up last year in a roughly $300 million deal with Sanofi ($SNY). The agreement spans a 5-year initial period, Evotec said, and tasks the company with indexing, storing and maintaining its partner's potential drug candidates, freeing UCB to focus on discovery science.

Neither company is disclosing financial details.

Headquartered in Hamburg, Evotec splits its business between CRO-like services for drugmakers and proprietary drug development. The model has attracted partners including Pfizer ($PFE), Bayer, Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) and Roche ($RHHBY), plus disease foundations around the globe.

Key to Evotec's value proposition is a sizable compound library of its own. Sanofi, through the deal that landed Evotec its French operation, handed its own compound cache to Evotec, creating a combined pool of roughly 1.7 million potential drugs. The pair now make the combined library available to Evotec's clients and partners, with Sanofi due an undisclosed cut of any hits that become treatments.

Evotec is expecting its 2015 revenue to grow by 45% over the prior year.

- read the statement