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Evotec expands open innovation push with Yale deal

Takes aim at diseases with unmet medical need with academic partnership

Germany's Evotec has entered into another strategic partnership with a US university as it continues to adopt an open innovation approach to drug discovery.

The latest agreement will see Evotec join forces with Yale University in Connecticut on discovery science for a number of diseases with unmet medical need, including metabolic diseases, disorders of the central nervous system (CNS), immunological diseases and cancer.

Evotec formed an R&D alliance with Massachusetts-based Harvard University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2011 focusing on diabetes - called CureBeta - which resulted in a licensing deal last year with Johnson & Johnson division Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

Evotec and Yale scientists will investigate novel assays, screens and models in the target disease categories, but the main thrust of the collaboration will be in the identification of exploratory drug targets and compounds. 

The intention is to "seamlessly integrate Evotec's drug discovery infrastructure with highly innovative biology at Yale to mature individual projects to a stage where they can be commercialised", said the German firm.

While the pharma industry has paid lip service to open innovation for years, it is only in recent times that momentum has started to build behind the concept, which hinges on integrating internal and external scientific expertise via the creation of networks of strategic R&D partners, both in academia and the private sector.

Other companies flying the flag for open innovation include GlaxoSmithKline - which has opened up some of its compound libraries to external researchers - and Eli Lilly which is offering academic researchers access to research capabilities in exchange for information that helps advance its own research.

Dr Jon Soderstrom, managing director of Yale's Office of Cooperative Research, described the agreement with Evotec as a new collaboration model between academia and the pharma industry.

"It essentially gives all faculties at Yale the opportunity to directly translate new biological insights into top notch drug discovery projects," said Soderstrom.

"Evotec is uniquely suited as a partner as they combine an extremely broad drug discovery platform with fast processes and proven commercialisation skills."

Financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

10th January 2013

From: Research

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