Hamburg, Germany-based Evotec announced its deal with the NCI – part of the US National Institutes of Health – this week, explaining that the five year, €4.5 m ($4.9 m) contract tasks it with managing the organisation's library of early-phase candidate drug compounds.
Evotec spokeswoman Gabriele Hansentold us the firm will provide “a comprehensive offering from designing libraries, sourcing and acquiring compounds, library integration, HTS and lead optimization support from a library management perspective.”
She explained that the compounds – which will be stored at a South San Francisco, California facility Evotec bought from BioFocus in 2011 – are used by scientists involved in various cancer drug discovery programmes supported by the NCI through its Chemical Biology Consortium (CBC).
“The CBC collection provides a pool of compounds from which eventually potential drug candidates will arise.
“The compounds are organized into subset libraries, which belong to three major categories: general chemically diverse screening libraries, libraries targeted against certain protein families, and libraries based on other non-target properties, including known drugs and natural products.”
Follow on deals
Hansen is hopeful the NCI contract will attract the attention of pharmaceutical firms interested in accessing the compounds.
“History tells us that contracts with the National Institutes of Health, the NCI being one of the largest centres, attracts other collaborators, academics, non-profits, and commercial organizations, who want to access these high calibre collections” she said.
She added that the contract research organisation (CRO) aims to attract “other prospective collaborators who are looking to build their own discovery collection while avoiding upfront costs and leveraging a proven partners capacities and capabilities.”