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European drug discovery established in Hamburg

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Evotec and Norgenta raise USD 9.5m for the creation of a drug discovery service centre in Hamburg

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, pharmaceutical company Evotec and life-sciences firm Norgenta have raised EUR 7m (USD 9.5m) in financing for the creation of a drug discovery service centre in Hamburg.

The entity, which has been named the European ScreeningPort, will add to research results generated from academic sources. Both Evotec and the City of Hamburg invested into the newly founded company, which will be run as a public-private partnership. 

ScreeningPort will link academic research and the pharmaceutical industry, while accelerating basic disease research and the production of new therapies. The new entity will act as a service provider to help academic research institutes to access its technology, chemical compound library and sample and data processing capabilities.

The reasoning behind the new centre is that new therapeutic concepts developed at universities will now have industry standard development processes applied to them. Pharmaceutical and biotech companies will benefit from the research results generated at ScreeningPort, which should complement their own drug research activities.

ScreeningPort will be the hub of an international network, with a number of European research institutes already involved. These include the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) and the Vienna-based Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.  

The project was devised by Evotec and implemented by Norgenta. Other partners include c.a.r.u.s. IT, a German-based company specialising in high-performance data management solutions for life science companies.

Thomas Rachel, member of the German federal parliament and parliamentary secretary of state at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, said: "ScreeningPort is an important element to close the gap between basic research and the commercial development of new therapeutics. Total funding of more than EUR 800m (USD 1,1bn) will be provided by 2011."

Joern Aldag, President and CEO of Evotec, added: "The initial step in this development is the search to identify biologically active chemical compounds. The European ScreeningPort provides us with the link that translates scientific discoveries into results that pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies, such as Evotec, can build upon."

3rd September 2007

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