Evotec and BMS sign eight-year neuro discovery deal

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags neurological Parkinson's disease Alzheimer's disease Evotec Bristol Myers Squibb

The two companies extend their ongoing partnership by a further eight years to discover treatments for neurodegenerative conditions.

Evotec and Bristol Myers Squibb announced the extension and expansion of their strategic partnership, focused on neurodegenerative diseases. The focus of the partnership is the development of new therapies for neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Under the terms of the new agreement, Evotec will receive an upfront payment of $50m (€46m), and additional payments upon reaching certain milestones in drug candidate development. With all factors included, such as license and performance milestones, the deal could be worth a potential $4bn to Evotec.

In return, BMS will gain access to Evotec's drug discovery platform and expertise in neurodegenerative diseases, as well as the rights to commercialize any resulting drugs that emerge from the partnership.

The deal sees the partners extend their relationship, which has been ongoing since 2016. At the time, this was agreed with Celgene, prior to its acquisition by BMS​, and the extension sees an agreement for the partners to work together for a further eight years.

According to the partners, the existing discovery deal has already successfully developed a pipeline of discovery and pre-clinical stage programs.

A first drug candidate, EVT8683, was in-licensed by BMS in September 2021, with the treatment having subsequently entered Phase I trials.

At the time of BMS’ opt-in, the announcement stated that EVT8683 is a small molecule treatment that targets a ‘key cellular stress response’ that could be useful in various neurodegenerative indications. As a result of BMS’ decision, Evotec received an option payment of $20m and is eligible for a further $250m in milestone payments.

Richard Hargreaves, SVP of neuroscience at Bristol Myers Squibb, said: “​Together we have an exceptional team of cross-functional experts who have built patient-centric biological and analytical systems at scale to identify, validate and develop novel targets for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.”

The deal represents a second research collaboration that Evotec has signed with a major pharma company recently.

Last year​, the company agreed a strategic collaboration with Janssen to discover small molecules that have capabilities in the field of protein homeostasis. This agreement sees Evotec in line to receive approximately €210m per drug development project, alongside the potential to receive tiered royalties.

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