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Evotec receives US$ 2.5 m grant to leverage human iPSC-derived teratogenicity platform for global health programmes

  • EVOTEC JOINS THE BILL & MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION FUNDED GLOBAL HEALTH DISCOVERY COLLABORATORY (“GHDC”) AS A NEW ADDITION TO THE FIFTEEN COLLABORATORY PLATFORMS

  • GRANT FROM THE BILL & MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION PROVIDES GHDC MEMBER INSTITUTIONS WITH ACCESS TO EVOTEC’S IPSC-DERIVED HIGH-THROUGHPUT TERATOGENICITY PLATFORM


Evotec SE (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, MDAX/TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809; NASDAQ: EVO) announced today that the Company has received a US$ 2.5 m grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (“the foundation”) for its teratogenicity platform, and joins the foundation’s prestigious Global Health Discovery Collaboratory (“GHDC”), a network of researchers, centres of excellence, and technology platforms working together to accelerate the discovery and translation of global health interventions.


Potential teratogenicity of drug candidates, i.e., their ability to cause defects in a developing foetus, is usually assessed very late in the drug discovery process using time- and cost-intensive in vivo models. Using human induced pluripotent stem cell (“iPSC”) technology, Evotec has developed an in vitro teratogenicity platform with high-throughput capability, which enables cost effective de-risking of drug candidates early in the drug discovery process. The grant provides GHDC members receiving funding from the foundation access to Evotec’s high-throughput teratogenicity platform at no extra cost.


Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec, commented: “We are very proud to receive this grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and thereby join the Global Health Discovery Collaboratory as a Collaboratory Platform. Our high-throughput in vitro platform for teratogenicity testing in a human model holds potential to de-risk drug discovery programmes across many indications much earlier than with conventional in vivo methods and thereby improve the probability for a successful drug development.”

 

About teratogenicity Teratogenic liability, the capacity of certain agents, particularly drugs, to disrupt normal foetal development, leading to congenital anomalies, is a major concern around any drug taken by women of childbearing age. These anomalies are a major cause of infant mortality, prevalent in both high and middle-income countries. With 40 to 80% of pregnant women in Western countries taking prescription drugs, the risk of exposure to teratogens is significant, especially when used for prolonged periods of time. Traditionally, teratogenicity assessments involve late-stage, time-consuming in vivo models with potential species-specific oversights. 


About Evotec’s teratogenicity platformEvotec's teratogenicity platform uses human induced pluripotent stem cell (“iPSC”) technology as in vitro models for teratogenicity testing. This approach allows for early and cost-effective evaluation of drug candidates in a high-throughput format, while also reducing the risk of missing human-specific teratogenic effects. The platform includes multiple human iPSC-based model systems representing tissues affected by teratogenic compounds. It employs an automated, high-throughput imaging-based approach for compound assessment, using immunostaining and automated image analysis. The platform has been validated with well-described compounds including teratogens as well as non-teratogens, demonstrating a high level of accuracy. Evotec also intends to combine its teratogenicity platform with other in-house A.I./M.L.-powered platforms to enable early in vitro teratogenicity prediction of drug candidates. However, this does not replace the requirements for later stage in vivo teratogenicity studies to fully de-risk a high-quality candidate for which the teratogenicity platform can help to identify. 



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