First Evotec-BMS Academic BRIDGE Collaboration Projects to Focus on Oncology

The first two projects funded within the translational BRIDGE beLAB1407 collaboration will focus on new mechanisms to treat cancer, Evotec SE has announced.

beLAB1407 is a collaboration between Evotec, a Germany-headquartered publicly-listed drug discovery and development company, and multinational pharma giant Bristol Myers Squibb aiming to expedite translational research from the United Kingdom’s academic life science ecosystem. The first two selected projects under the collaboration are from the universities of Birmingham and Edinburgh.

Both newly funded programs present novel and potential cancer treatment strategies

The first projects to be developed under this academic BRIDGE partnership have been selected only six months after the beLAB1407 collaboration agreement was signed back in May this year. Both programs present novel and potential cancer treatment strategies.

The first initiative is based on Dr. Paul Badenhorst’s research at the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences at the University of Birmingham. The goal of the study is to create new small molecule inhibitors that target an epigenetic reader linked to cancer cell survival. The second research, led by Dr. Ashish Dhir of the MRC Institute of Genetics and Cancer at the University of Edinburgh, focuses on the detection of small molecules inducing interferon signaling, leading to an inflammation-mediated anti-tumour response.

Both initiatives will now be verified and developed using Evotec’s integrated discovery and development platform within beLAB1407. The purpose of beLAB1407 is to create academic projects that value inflection points, allowing the establishment of new jointly owned spin-off firms.

Dr Thomas Hanke, EVP & Head of Academic Partnerships at Evotec, commented:

“We are delighted to announce the first funded projects at beLAB1407 and we are looking forward to accelerating the promising translational work of Drs Badenhorst and Dhir in the area of novel cancer treatments on Evotec’s integrated drug discovery & development infrastructure called the ‘Data-driven R&D Autobahn to Cures’ towards a hit identification and beyond. At the same time, we are pleased to receive additional promising applications from scientists working within the beLAB1407 member institutions in Birmingham, Nottingham, Edinburgh and Dundee, and are looking forward to expanding the scope of the project portfolio further.”

Dr Paul Badenhorst, Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, said:

“The award of funding from the beLAB1407 BMS-Evotec Academic Collaboration marks a significant step in our ongoing research programmes to understand the roles of epigenetic readers in cancer, and to develop new strategies for therapeutic intervention in a diverse range of cancer types.”

Dr Ashish Dhir, Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s MRC Institute of Genetics and Cancer, said:

“I’m truly honoured to receive this funding from beLAB1407 that will drive our fundamental research towards drug development, an important leap towards the clinic. As an early career researcher, this is a fantastic endorsement of the research vision and exciting science in my lab.”

beLAB1407 is backed by Evotec in collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb. The total volume of US$ 20 m will allow for several more funding rounds.

For more information on beLAB1407, please visit

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