Evotec AG (Germany) and APEIRON Biologics AG (Austria) announced that the companies received the first milestone payment from Sanofi under a 3-party alliance signed in August 2015.
The milestone payment of €3 million will be split equally between the two biotech companies. The success payment was triggered when the partners successfully advanced an undisclosed, novel immuno-oncology small molecule into late-stage pre-clinical development. Under the alliance, the three companies work together to identify small molecule leads and targets for next-generation therapies in immuno-oncology, which may complement the pre-clinical and clinical profiles of leading checkpoint inhibitors.
Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec, commented: “The Evotec and APEIRON teams are proud to have achieved our first milestone with Sanofi to discover and develop novel immuno-oncology small molecules therapies. It is a first-in-class approach with tremendous potential in combination with marketed checkpoint inhibitors but also as standalone therapy. The field of immuno-oncology will continue to evolve and at Evotec we will continue to invest in this area.”
The strategic collaboration was set up in 2015 to support the long-term pipeline building for Evotec, APEIRON Biologics and Sanofi and has a potential value of over €200 million in milestone payments and significant royalties. The collaboration includes major research and development efforts to advance a first-in-class orally available small molecule approach based on a novel target to treat solid and hematopoietic cancers by enhancing the anti-tumor activity of human immune cells.
Evotec is a drug discovery alliance and development partnership company headquartered in Hamburg, Germany. Evotec operates worldwide and has leading scientific experts, state-of-the-art technologies as well as key therapeutic expertise in the areas of neuroscience, diabetes and complications of diabetes, pain and inflammation, oncology and infectious diseases.
APEIRON is a private biotech company based in Vienna, Austria, engaged in innovative projects in immuno-oncology. Recently, the most advanced program, an immunotherapy to treat neuroblastoma, was granted marketing approval in the EU.
Dr Hans Loibner, Chief Executive Officer of APEIRON Biologics, said: “We are delighted by the progress made in our collaboration with Evotec and Sanofi. Based on our scientific findings and the mode of action, we jointly agreed to accelerate the research and pre-clinical development of this very promising molecule. The successful achievement of this milestone further demonstrates our abilities to drive innovation in the field of immuno-oncology.”