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Virtual Drug Discovery Incubator Launched for Univ. Labs

Lab jars and beakers

(jdn2001cn0, Pixabay)

24 June 2020. Life science investors and a drug discovery company started a remote business incubator service to discover and develop early therapy candidates from academic research. Autobahn Labs, a joint venture of Evotec SE with early-stage investors Samsara BioCapital and KCK Ltd., also signed an agreement with the technology transfer office at University of California in Los Angeles to advance research from its labs into commercial products.

Autobahn Labs aims to provide university researchers with business tools and financial resources to take promising lab findings to market. Evotec, a drug discovery company in Hamburg, Germany generally works through collaborations with research labs and drug companies, providing target identification and validation, hit identification, and drug and biologics candidate development.

The company’s Bridge program — short for Biomedical research, innovation and development generation efficiency — identifies early-stage academic research with commercial potential, and forms new spin-off companies or collaborations to advance and commercialize their findings. Autobahn Labs is the latest of seven Bridge ventures for Evotec.

Samsara BioCapital in Palo Alto, California and KCK Ltd, in New York are life science investment companies that provide financial backing for Autobahn Labs’ candidate drugs and biologics through preclinical development, which includes securing the intellectual property behind those discoveries. Autobahn Labs says it will provide up to $5 million per project to advance promising therapies, often much earlier than most venture capital investors. Other financial and intellectual property details of Autobahn Labs’ relationships with academic labs were not disclosed.

In a company statement, Werner Lanthaler, Evotec’s CEO, calls Autobahn Labs “a one-of-a-kind incubator that builds on the well-established foundation of our model of academic partnership programs, to support multiple academic institutions.” Lanthaler adds, “Providing both funding and access to a powerful drug development platform, Autobahn Labs will be able to efficiently translate the ground-breaking research of leading academic institutions into medical progress to benefit patients with unmet medical need.”

UCLA Technology Development Group, or TDG,  the university’s technology transfer office, is joining Autobahn Labs in its first collaboration. “TDG is exploring new models for tech transfer,” notes Amir Naiberg, associate vice chancellor at UCLA and CEO of Technology Development Group. “This novel strategic collaboration with Autobahn Labs allows us to partner with industry experts earlier than ever before. We believe this will enable us to accelerate the transformation of our early scientific research into new drugs.”

“Autobahn Labs was created to be a catalyst for translational research,” says Thomas Novak, chief scientist at Autobahn Labs, “working with academic scientists and institutions to design and execute an accelerated path to deliver transformational new therapies. We are very excited to partner with UCLA, a university with a premier reputation for innovation in the life sciences, to realize the potential of that innovation for patients.”

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