Sanofi signs CRO Evotec to €250m, five-year research partnership

By Zachary Brennan contact

- Last updated on GMT

Sanofi signs CRO Evotec to €250m, five-year research partnership
The strategic partnership comes with Sanofi providing €250m to Evotec, including €40m upfront, as part of efforts to discover new drug candidates, including in the area of oncology, and specifically at Sanofi’s R&D site in Toulouse, France.

Under the deal, Evotec will bring on the 20,000-square-meter Toulouse facility, including more than 200 employees. Evotec will integrate the Toulouse capacities into its global drug discovery infrastructure and offering to support research in drug discovery from screening to identification of pre-clinical candidates with Evotec's Pharma, biotech, venture capital and academic partners.

The strategic collaboration between Sanofi and Evotec also would include the creation of a support fund dedicated to the development of scientific collaborations with academic institutions in France, and access to the Sanofi Toulouse site chemical library, with an estimated combined 1.7m compounds. Both companies will also combine their libraries and offer them for screening to Evotec's business partners.

The deal follows multiple deals made by Evotec in recent months, including those with Bayer, Janssen​, Padlock​ and Second Genome​. Sanofi declined to comment on how Evotec was selected for the partnership.

Breakdown

The teams dedicated to research include projects in the tumor microenvironment and would unite with Evotec’s EVT Innovatesegment. The teams devoted to technological services -- from identification and validation of new target therapies to discovery and validation of new drug candidates -- would be integrated into Evotec’s other EVT Executesegment.

The projected integration of these activities by Evotec would include a commitment to maintain the site’s workforce levels up to 2019.

To support the site’s scientific and technological mission, Sanofi will commit to entrusting Evotec with research assignments over the next five years as part of the project. For its part, Evotec will bring to the site its expertise, collaborations and research contracts with other pharmaceutical companies.

Sanofi also confirms its intention to turn the Toulouse site and its Support platform into a Bioparc. It will cover an area of 54,000 m2 including offices, laboratories and conference center.

This offer, from which Evotec will fully benefit, will be accessible to all start-ups, biotech companies or academic organizations.

Sanofi Global R&D President Elias Zerhouni said: "This project was made possible by the work initiated by the teams on site over the past months. This collaboration with Evotec could -represent a valuable opportunity for the site and for its employees, as it will ensure the success and sustainability of the activities. More broadly, it will reinforce the visibility of biomedical research in Toulouse."

Given the complexity of the transaction, Evotec's yearly financial guidance will be updated after careful consideration with the auditors. An update of how the transaction will impact the financial projections of Evotec will be given at Evotec's year-end presentation for 2014 next Tuesday.

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