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Evotec Acquiring Sanofi Infectious Disease Portfolio

MRSA bacteria

MRSA bacteria ( National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

8 March 2018. Drug discovery company Evotec AG is licensing 10 infectious disease R&D programs and their 100 employees from drug maker Sanofi, and opening new labs for this work in Lyon, France. The deal also calls for Evotec, based in Hamburg, Germany, to make its infectious disease research platform open to outside collaborators from academic labs, foundations, and other biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

Evotec discovers and develops drugs and biologics in the fields 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.

Sanofi, based in Paris, is licensing 10 of its research and early-stage clinical programs on infectious diseases to Evotec, which is also taking over Sanofi’s infectious disease research labs, with more than 100 workers. Evotec will integrate the former Sanofi labs into its infectious diseases operations, expanding its payroll to 150 employees. The Evotec labs will be located at a new facility in Lyon, France, with a commitment to stay in Lyon for 5 years. The first project at the new labs is expected to be discovery of anti-microbial candidates that use a different mechanism of action than current drugs.

“Research in the field of anti-infectives” says Elias Zerhouni, Sanofi’s president of global R&D in a joint statement, “is an area where building critical mass through partnering is particularly important. This new French-based open innovation center will benefit from the high quality science ecosystem.”

The agreement calls for Evotec to open its research and development work to outside collaborations with labs in academic institutions, government agencies, biotechnology companies, and pharmaceutical manufacturers, particularly at the new Lyon research labs. Much of Evotec’s current drug discovery work is done through collaborations, either “innovate” partnerships where Evotec earns milestone payments and royalties, or “execute” agreements performed for set fees.

Under the deal, Evotec is receiving a €60 million ($US 74 million) initial payment from Sanofi, which also agrees to provide “significant further long-term funding,” although additional financial details were not revealed. Sanofi retains rights to option — i.e., intent to license — undisclosed infectious disease programs for future development, manufacturing, and commercialization. Sanofi is retaining its vaccines division and global public health programs, which are not covered by this agreement.

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