Sanofi, Evotec to accelerate infectious disease R&D with new open innovation platform

Evotec and Sanofi have entered exclusive talks to create an Evotec-led Infectious Disease open innovation R&D platform, the companies said on Thursday. 

Evotec will expand current initiatives to accelerate research and development (“R&D”) of novel anti-infectives, while Sanofi will transfer approximately 100 employees to Evotec. Furthermore, Sanofi said it is to license more than 10 infectious disease R&D assets to Evotec while retaining option rights for development and commercialization. According to the company’s press release, the transaction excludes Sanofi’s vaccine R&D unit and related projects.
Sanofi added it will provide support to Evotec including a one-time, upfront payment of €60 million to support success of Infectious Disease assets, with the transaction expected to close in the first half of 2018.

Dr Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive Officer of Evotec, said that Evotec has had a significant strategic interest in infectious diseases research since the acquisition of Euprotec (UK) in 2014. The Evotec’s CEO pointed out the company’s ambition to grow and become the drug discovery and development leader in this space together with its partners. Lanthaler said: “We are pleased to be working and expanding our strategic relationship with Sanofi, which has a long history in providing novel anti-infective agents to markets globally. Finding a way to motivate more public funding and academic initiatives for the progress of novel anti-infectives on Evotecs’ platform will be a key success factor for this initiative.”

Dr Elias Zerhouni, President Global R&D for Sanofi said that research in the field of anti-infectives is an area where building critical mass through partnering is particularly important. He said that the new French based open innovation center will benefit from the high quality science ecosystem. “Evotec is a trusted partner in drug discovery and has the ambition and capacity to become a real leader in the fight against infectious diseases,” Zerhouni said.

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