2:52 PM
Mar 08, 2018
 |  BC Extra  |  Company News

Sanofi turns infectious R&D over to Evotec

Sanofi (Euronext:SAN; NYSE:SNY) and Evotec AG (Xetra:EVT) partnered on Thursday to develop an infectious disease pipeline led by Evotec, seeded with more than 10 undisclosed early stage, preclinical assets from Sanofi's infectious disease portfolio excluding vaccines.

The companies said Evotec “will integrate” the pharma’s infectious disease research unit, which includes more than 100 employees, into its global drug discovery and development operations.

Evotec CEO Werner Lanthaler told BioCentury the pipeline will be co-owned by the companies and will include additional programs developed by Evotec. Evotec intends to build out the pipeline by in-licensing additional assets from universities, biotech and pharmaceutical companies, foundations and government agencies.

Under the deal, Evotec will receive €60 million ($73.9 million) up front and "significant" long-term funding for pipeline development. Lanthaler and Sanofi declined to disclose a specific dollar amount, but Lanthaler said the funding is enough to cover the cost of bringing all of Sanofi's assets forward. The project will involve at least 150 Evotec staff.

Evotec shares rose €1.93 (14%) to €16.08 on Thursday.

Sanofi will retain undisclosed development, manufacturing and commercial option rights to the assets it contributes.

Lanthaler said Evotec will pursue indications that are high on the World Health Organization's list of bacteria for which new treatments are needed, many of which are Gram-negative pathogens, in addition to antiviral programs.

The deal is expected to close this half.

It is the latest addition for Evotec, which has a business model designed around partnerships and a suite of CRO-like preclinical services. It also has internally developed candidates (see BioCentury Innovations, Feb. 8).

Separately on Thursday, Sanofi said it completed its acquisition of Bioverativ Inc. (see BioCentury, Jan. 26).

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