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Oxford, Evotec Partner on Drug Discovery

Aerial view of Oxford, U.K.

Oxford, U.K. (chensiyuan, Wikimedia Commons)

10 November 2016. A collaboration between University of Oxford and a German drug discovery company aims to speed promising new treatments to the market, including support for start-up enterprises. The agreement between Evotec AG in Hamburg and the university includes £13 million (€14 million, $US 16 million) to fund further preclinical development and finance new companies spun-off from Oxford to commercialize the candidate drugs.

Evotec offers drug discovery services in the areas of neuroscience, pain, metabolic diseases, oncology, inflammation, and infectious diseases. The company generally works through collaborations with research labs and drug companies, providing target identification and validation, hit identification, and candidate development including biologics.

The 3-year partnership with Oxford named Lab282 gives Evotec exclusive access to translational research identifying new therapeutics across all medical domains. Evotec will provide an expert in drug discovery to the university residing on campus during this period. The company will also offer its lab facilities to accelerate promising drug and biologic candidates. (The name Lab282 comes from the Pantone color code 282 known as Oxford blue.)

Lab282 is funded by £13 million from Oxford Sciences Innovation, an on-campus enterprise that invests in intellectual property developed in the university’s labs. Researchers can apply for grants of up to £250,000. Projects that show results can be spun-off into new companies, supported by financing from Lab282 partners and other investors. Evotec will also be eligible to invest in start-ups emerging from Lab282.

Cord Dohrmann, Evotec’s chief scientist, says in a joint statement that the partnership, “elegantly combines core strengths of academia, biotech, venture capital and strong links to pharma under one roof.” Dohrmann notes that “it is designed to accelerate in particular first-in-class and potentially disruptive early-stage projects to value inflection points that will facilitate the formation of companies.”

Adam Stoten, who heads the life sciences division in University of Oxford’s technology transfer office adds the approach, “addresses a major unmet need by engaging Lab282’s partners, together offering world-class medical research, commercial drug discovery expertise and facilities, and significant investment resources.”

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