Evotec AG has bought an asset management company that specialises in bringing academic discovery and development innovations to the attention of pharma and biopharma sponsors.
The deal – terms of which were not disclosed – will add Hamburg-based Bionamics’ asset management knowhow and pipeline neurodegeneration and central nervous system (CNS) focused technology projects to Evotec’s portfolio.
Evotec CEO Werner Lanthaler said: "With the acquisition of Bionamics we accelerate our EVT Innovate strategy and enlarge our reach towards outstanding innovations. We welcome the openness of Bionamics to join the discovery infrastructure of Evotec.
The deal will also see Bionamics GmbH managing director Timm Jessen, who previously served as Evotec’s chief science officer (CSO), re-join Evotec as head of the firm’s EVT Innovate project team.
“We are also very happy to welcome Dr Timm Jessen back at Evotec. In his new management role, Dr Jessen will be responsible for the commercialisation of "EVT Innovate" projects."
Jessen said: "We highly value Evotec's strategic appreciation of our work and its success as demonstrated in managing the NEU² programme, a consortium of academic, biotech and Pharma partners focussing on novel products to treat multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases.
“The combination of our management skills with Evotec's strong operational capabilities offers a unique constellation for researchers and entrepreneurs around the globe to accelerate their innovation together with us. I very much look forward to expand this concept further within the Evotec Group."
Academic team ups
The acquisition fits with the strategy of academic partnering that Evotec has followed in recent years.
Last September, for example, the contract research organisation (CRO) partnered with the Havard Stem Cell Institute to discover compounds that might prevent or slow ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and other motor-neuron diseases.
The accord – which focused around two Harvard labs’ ALS patient-derived motor neuron models that allow screening of diseased human cells in culture – was the fourth collaboration between Evotec and Harvard scientists.
The first two project involved research on diabetes and targeting beta cell mass and function, and to discover and develop new biomarkers and treatments for kidney disease. The diabetes research evolved into a partnership with Johnson &Johnson (J&J) unit, Janssen.
Evotec also works with researchers at the Jain Foundation on the development of treatments for muscular dystrophy. This collaboration – which began in 2012 – aims to create a cell-based high through-put screening assay to assess muscle cells that can be used to identify potential treatments.