Evotec “will use its extensive screening platform and know-how to identify and validate modulators of the selected ion channel target,” which has been selected by Almirall, Christophe Muller, an Evotec spokesperson, told Outsourcing-Pharma.
The hit identification phase of the program is expected to continue through quarter four of the calendar year in 2010 to quarter one of 2011. However the contract discovery and development firm will not be taking drug delivery methods into consideration at this early stage as “there are many hurdles to overcome before formulation is even considered,” said Muller.
Evotec has already been successful in securing several ion channel focused deals, most recently having teamed up with Ono Pharmaceutical in 2009 to discover small molecular weight compounds active against an ion channel target selected by Ono.
Evotec and Ono have worked together since March 2008 to identify inhibitors for a protease target, with Evotec’s role resting as Ono’s provider of protein crystallography, medicinal chemistry, biology and ADMET (adsorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicology) services with the goal to advance a compound into clinical development.
Muller attributes Evotec’s success in closing the ion channel discovery deal to the company’s “high level of disease biology (pharmacology) and electrophysiology expertise in addition to a complex and varied technology platform.”
The Spanish multinational company, Almirall, previously worked alongside Evotec in 2005, entering into a two-year compound library synthesis agreement whereby Evotec designed and synthesised thousands of drug-like compounds across an extensive range of chemical templates for Almirall.
“As a service provider, entering collaborations with key players in the industry such as Almirall, is central to our business and our ongoing success,” said Muller.
The company is unwilling to specify further details of the specific ion channel target, or the types of respiratory diseases involved.