Evotec and CDHI form Huntington Disease alliance

By Wai Lang Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Evotec Genetics

Evotec and CHDI have formed a strategic partnership, which aims to
research and develop treatments for Huntington Disease (HD), a
genetic disorder that causes programmed degeneration of brain cells
and loss of intellectual faculties.

The choice to use Evotec represents another shift in the formation of alliances as organisations are favouring a biotech approach to finding therapies.

In the pharmaceutical industry, small biotech companies are expected to dominate the research agenda over big-pharma, by focusing on ever-tighter niche markets, as well as by discovering disease-oriented drugs based on specific genetic markers.

Since March 2006, Evotec and CHDI have signed four agreements covering medicinal chemistry, assay development and medium-throughput screening (MTS), ultra-high-throughput screening (uHTS) and library synthesis and management services.

"As collaborative enablers, CHDI depends on a network of academic and industrial partners to conduct its research efforts,"​ said Robert Pacifici, chief scientific adviser to CHDI.

"We believe we have found the ideal partner in our search for novel treatments that may slow or prevent Huntington Disease,"​ he added.

HD is a familial disease, passed from parent to child through a mutation in a gene. Genetic studies have shown that each child of an HD parent has a 50-50 chance of inheriting the HD gene.

Most people with HD develop the symptoms at midlife but in some people onset occurs in infancy or old age. The average survival time after onset is approximately fifteen to twenty years.

It is estimated that about one in every 10,000 persons has the HD gene. At this time, there is no way to stop or reverse the course of HD.

Under the terms of the agreement, Evotec will apply its biological science know how to develop high content screening assays for use against high priority biological targets thought to be of importance to treating Huntington Disease provided by CHDI and the High Q Foundation.

Evotec will apply its own medicinal chemistry and parallel synthesis skills to synthesise libraries of novel small molecule compounds

Evotec will also use its proprietary platform to screen these compounds and its own library to identify compounds with biological activity.

Using Evotec's medicinal chemistry, profiling and ADMET (Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, Excretion and Toxicity) facilities active compounds will be further characterised, eventually generating lead molecules for further progression into clinical trials. Financial terms of the deal were not dicussed.

"We are delighted that CHDI, an organisation dedicated to Huntington Disease research, has chosen us as their partner for drug discovery," said Mark Ashton, executive vice president business development services at Evotec

"We are ideally positioned to add significant value to their programmes up to clinical development and beyond."

Related topics Preclinical Research Preclinical

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