Dubbed European ScreeningPort, the newly-created company will be run as a public/private partnership and allow universities and academic centres to have access to its technology, chemical compounds library and data processing capabilities. "The objective of ScreeningPort is to provide the missing link between academic research and the pharmaceutical industry," an Evotec spokesperson told Outsourcing-Pharma.com. "But it is also a marketplace where universities can have access and potentially partner with all the different academic projects handled by the new centre." In every project, intellectual property (IP) remains within the academic body conducting the research, she explained. New therapeutic concepts developed at universities can, in future, undergo the same standardised, more efficient and thus more cost-effective development processes that have, until now, been available only to industry, the new company said. Pharma and biotech companies, for their part, can benefit from the research results generated at ScreeningPort and thus complement their own drug research. "The project has already kicked off and we are starting with two screening contracts this year and we will have 10 the following year," Dr Carsten Claussen, managing director of the European ScreeningPort, told Outsourcing-Pharma.com. In addition, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich) and the Vienna-based Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences have signed letters of intent, the firm said. For Evotec, a company that both develops its own drugs and provides contract research services to the pharma industry, the interest behind the investment is obvious. "[…] Academic research generates a plethora of excellent scientific ideas that require an industrial environment for further development," said Jörn Aldag, Evotec CEO. "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." European ScreeningPort is being established with the support of the City of Hamburg, Evotec and Norgenta, the north German life science agency. The German government also supports the project as part of its €800m 'Pharmaceutical for Germany' initiative. Although still in an early phase, ScreeningPort has already raised more than €7m in financing.