Evotec, a publicly listed drug discovery and development company, has won a € 7.5 million grant for the development of a potential first-in-class immunomodulatory therapy against COVID-19.
Evotec SE, (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, MDAX/TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809; NASDAQ: EVO), announced today that it has been chosen by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (“BMBF”) to receive a grant for the development of EVT075.
Evotec is one of three companies receiving a highly competitive grant as part of a new initiative by the BMBF to support the clinical development of novel therapeutic candidates against COVID-19.
Clinical development of a potentially highly potent immunomodulatory molecule
Under the € 7.5 million grant, Evotec will use clinical material manufactured within its Just – Evotec Biologics manufacturing platform to start the clinical development of a potentially highly potent immunomodulatory molecule. Utilising the assays developed as part of the Company’s global Pandemic Preparedness and Rapid Response initiative “PRROTECT”, Evotec announced that it has demonstrated potent activity of the molecule in pre-clinical in-vitro studies.
The molecule has shown great potential to produce a powerful antiviral response against infections with SARS-CoV-2 (“coronavirus”). By amplifying the immune response against coronavirus infections, the molecule can potentially reduce the viral load. Thus, the early administration of this biologic may significantly lower the risk of a severe progression of COVID-19 that requires the hospitalisation of patients.
Evotec also informed that it plans to use the grant to initiate clinical studies assessing the safety and efficacy of the compound and to determine the optimal dose-range in healthy volunteers as well as COVID-19 patients.
Dr Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive Officer of Evotec, commented:
“As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become apparent that besides continuing to build up immunity by way of vaccinations, effective therapeutics against the disease are also urgently needed. By amplifying the immune response and lowering the viral load, the molecule can help reduce the share of people requiring inpatient treatment, and thus the enormous strain the pandemic is putting on the global health systems. Having leveraged our pandemic preparedness platform ‘PRROTECT’, we are excited to use the grant from the BMBF to bring a potential COVID-19 therapeutic into the clinic.”
To prepare against future pandemics, Evotec has initiated the global networking initiative PRROTECT (pandemic Preparedness and Rapid RespOnse TEChnology PlaTform). PRROTECT builds on Evotec’s current anti-viral therapeutics portfolio and leverages the Company’s platform to further broaden its existing modality-agnostic pipeline against viral threats, while at the same time accelerating R&D timelines for neutralising antibodies, and creating a flexible manufacturing network to deliver such therapeutics in the event of a future pandemic.
More about recent grants won by Evotec SE
On 16 December 2021 Evotec announced that the Company has received a US$ 18 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the integrated discovery and development of a novel, first-in-class programme to accelerate progress in the area of women’s health and contraceptive technology, leveraging Evotec’s integrated R&D platform.