Evotec AG and the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) today announced a new strategic public-private partnership to address the threat posed by antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
An Evotec spokesperson told us, “Both Evotec and GARDP have extensive networks as well as deep insight into antibiotic research and development. In addition to its leading drug discovery platform, Evotec will be leveraging its expertise in medicinal chemistry and pharmacology, as well as its world-leading collection of bacterial pathogens.”
The spokesperson said the goals of the partnership are to establish a platform “spanning the entire drug development value chain and to develop a joint pipeline of novel antibiotics, thus accelerating the development of first-in-class antibiotic treatments for hard-to-treat bacterial infections.”
Specific projects as part of the partnership “in due course,” a GARDP spokesperson told us.
“Working with partners including industry, academia, research institutions, is a key element of GARDP’s work to develop antibiotics to tackle serious bacterial infections, and in particular Gram-negative infections, which the WHO has identified as a global public health priority,” the spokesperson added.
Open innovation initiatives
The partnership with GARDP follows Evotec’s 2018 announcement that it would be integrating Sanofi’s infectious disease unit into its organization and licensing-in the majority of Sanofi’s infectious disease research portfolio and initiatives.
Following the transaction, Evotec said it would launch new “open innovation” initiatives and collaborate with additional partners to accelerate infectious disease research – initially focusing on superbug infections and AMR.
The deal more than doubled the number of scientists employed at Evotec, with 100 Sanofi employees integrated into its global drug discovery and development operations, which will now include approximately 180 scientists.
According to the WHO, antibiotic resistance is among the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development, and in 2017 released a list for which it said new antibiotics “are urgently needed.”
The list highlights the threat of gram-negative bacteria, which have “built-in abilities to find new ways to resist treatment and can pass along genetic material that allows other bacteria to become drug-resistant as well,” according to the organization.