Evotec SE and Vifor Pharma announced the launch of a 50:50 joint venture focused on the discovery and development of novel nephrology therapeutics. Vifor Pharma will be benefiting from access to an external R&D capability for the development of its own nephrology pipeline, while Evotec will gain access to a commercial partner through outlicensing all nephrology assets developed through the joint venture to the Vifor Pharma Group.
Under the terms of the agreement, the joint venture will focus on the discovery of nephrology therapeutics by analysing the clinical data provided by Evotec that is mining a unique UK kidney biobank, NURTuRE, in order to identify new targets for renal therapies, and sharpen existing product profiles of an innovative pipeline. Evotec will focus on applying its drug discovery & development capabilities and will leverage Vifor Pharma’s proven commercial platform to create a robust pipeline of nephrology programmes. Upon completion of clinical trials for drugs in the newly-created, jointly-owned pipeline, products will be outlicensed to Vifor Pharma for registration and commercialisation to further expand Vifor Pharma Group’s strong nephrology pipeline.
Initial funding of € 25 m for pre-clinical development will be covered by Vifor Pharma so that multiple targets or candidates can be moved forward simultaneously. The use of Evotec’s proprietary PanHunter bioinformatics platform, combined with high-quality data sets from thousands of human kidney disease patients will lead to the discovery of a number of promising therapeutic options in the kidney disease space. The clinical and commercial costs for any successful compounds are anticipated to be shared equally by both companies, with opt-out rights at each stage based on a predetermined profit share arrangement.
Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer at Evotec, commented: “We are excited to be entering into this highly complementary joint venture with Vifor Pharma. The partnership will help us maximise the potential of our early-stage target identification and candidate selection platform in nephrology by creating a joint company with one of the world leaders in nephrology clinical development and commercialisation. This will allow Evotec to participate in the value generation of clinical development.”
Stefan Schulze, COO and President of the Executive Committee at Vifor Pharma, commented: “The creation of the joint venture will enable us to identify new targets for renal therapies to bolster our pipeline. We will now have access to Evotec’s best-in-class drug discovery as well as pre-clinical capabilities without having to expand our own R&D infrastructure. By drawing on the unique strengths of Vifor Pharma and Evotec, this joint venture will create a powerful research platform and contribute to establish Vifor Pharma as a global leader in nephrology.”