Evotec Expands into Gene Therapy

Monday, April 6, 2020 1:10 AM

  • EVOTEC ESTABLISHES GENE THERAPY R&D SITE WITH MORE THAN 20 EXPERIENCED SCIENTISTS IN AUSTRIA
  • BECOMING FULLY MODALITY AGNOSTIC WITH EXPANSION INTO THE FIELD OF GENE THERAPY
  • CONFIRMS EVOTEC'S ROLE AS LEADING EXTERNAL INNOVATOR FOR THE INTEGRATED OUTSOURCING OF DRUG DISCOVERY AND DEVELOPMENT

HAMBURG, GERMANY / ACCESSWIRE / April 6, 2020 / Evotec SE (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, MDAX/TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) today announced that the Company has established a dedicated site for research and development of gene therapy-based projects: Evotec Gene Therapy ("Evotec GT") which will start operations with a strong team of gene therapy experts at an R&D site in Orth/Donau, Austria.

Evotec GT is an integral part of Evotec's integrated drug discovery platform and complements the Company's existing expertise. This strategic addition marks an important step towards Evotec's long-term vision of becoming a fully modality-agnostic drug discovery and development partnership company.

The team in Austria have worked together for many years and applied their research within gene therapy to different gene therapy-related technologies as well as various indications. The scientists have deep expertise in vectorology and virology as well as disease insights, in particular in hemophilia, hematology, metabolic and muscle diseases. Evotec GT's fully operational site will enable the Company to perform dedicated services in the field of gene therapy along the value chain of its customers from Pharma and biotech as well as foundations and academia.

Dr Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive Officer of Evotec, commented: "We are delighted to initiate our new gene therapy platform and step into this field, which perfectly fits into our business strategy going forward. In recent years, precision medicines based on cell and gene therapies have emerged and are predicted to grow significantly. Gene therapy is a promising approach in the development of genetic medicines for patients, especially for inherited and rare diseases. Finding the best candidate agnostic of modality for any given disease biology will ultimately bring forward the best medicine for patients."

Dr Friedrich Scheiflinger, EVP Head of Gene Therapy at Evotec, said: "We are proud to join the growing Evotec team to add the highly promising modality of gene therapy to drug discovery projects. Our team has performed research in the field across different technologies and therapeutic areas for many years and we look forward to leveraging our expertise as part of the truly impressive, modality-agnostic Evotec platform."

About Gene Therapy
Gene therapy is a technique that modifies a person's genes to treat or prevent disease by introduction, removal or editing of genetic material, specifically DNA or RNA, within the cells of a patient. Gene therapies aim to replace a disease-causing gene with a healthy copy, inactivate a disease-causing gene, introduce a new or modified gene or interfere on an expression-regulatory level to support treatment of a disease. Through this modification of gene expression, gene therapies can increase levels of disease-fighting proteins or reduce levels of disease-causing proteins within the cell. Since direct insertion of genes into cells is still very inefficient, gene delivery is facilitated by vehicles which are most often of viral origin. The structure of these viral vectors has been modified to accommodate for the therapeutic gene and to render the vector non-infectious. Depending on the indication and the affected tissue, the technique can be either applied ex-vivo or in-vivo, i.e. with or without removing the cells from the patient's body for the therapeutic procedure.

According to various analyst reports, the gene therapy market was valued at approx. $ 500 m in 2018 and the market is expected to reach > $ 5 bn by 2025 with an impressive CAGR of ~34% over the forecast period. Furthermore, rapid and significant progress in the molecular and cellular biology arena, driven by technological advancements in genomics and gene-editing tools, has contributed to an increasing number of approved gene therapies as well as an expanding pipeline. According to the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM), by the end of the second quarter of 2019, there were more than 700 clinical trials ongoing globally.[1]

ABOUT EVOTEC SE
Evotec is a drug discovery alliance and development partnership company focused on rapidly progressing innovative product approaches with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academics, patient advocacy groups and venture capitalists. We operate worldwide and our more than 3,000 employees provide the highest quality stand-alone and integrated drug discovery and development solutions. We cover all activities from target-to-clinic to meet the industry's need for innovation and efficiency in drug discovery and development (EVT Execute). The Company has established a unique position by assembling top-class scientific experts and integrating state-of-the-art technologies as well as substantial experience and expertise in key therapeutic areas including neuronal diseases, diabetes and complications of diabetes, pain and inflammation, oncology, infectious diseases, respiratory diseases, fibrosis, rare diseases and women's health. On this basis, Evotec has built a broad and deep pipeline of approx. 100 co-owned product opportunities at clinical, pre-clinical and discovery stages (EVT Innovate). Evotec has established multiple long-term alliances with partners including Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, CHDI, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Sanofi, Takeda, UCB and others. For additional information please go to 
www.evotec.com and follow us on Twitter @Evotec.

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
Information set forth in this press release contains forward-looking statements, which involve a number of risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent the judgement of Evotec as of the date of this press release. Such forward-looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, and which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements. We expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any such statements to reflect any change in our expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

Contact Evotec SE:
Gabriele Hansen, SVP Corporate Communications, Marketing & Investor Relations, Phone: +49.(0)40.56081-255, gabriele.hansen@evotec.com

[1] Sources: https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/gene-therapy-market; https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/at-339-cagr-gene-therapy-marke... https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/gene-therapy-market-to-garner-6...

SOURCE: Evotec AG via EQS Newswire

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