Evotec and Vifor launch joint kidney disease venture
Two years after they began collecting and analyzing data from kidney banks across the UK, Evotec has launched a joint venture with Vifor to build new therapies off of those data.
The project is 50:50, the companies said, but will launch with a €25 million ($27.7 million) injection from Vifor, the Galencia spinoff. Clinical and commercial costs of any potential therapies that emerge from the partnership will be split evenly between the two companies, with various opt-out rights from a predetermined profit sharing agreement. Any drugs that get out of the clinic will be outlicensed to Vifor for registration and commercialization.
In June 2017, German-based Evotec joined the NURTuRE consortium to collect information from the UK Renal Registry and 14 kidney disease centers in hopes of uncovering key drivers of such ailments, firstly chronic kidney disease and nephrotic syndrome, that would then offer a path toward new treatments.
Swiss-based Vifor has long focused heavily on kidney diseases, marketing Mircera, Veltassa and Velphoro, among other drugs. Evotec’s unique approach to preclinical work has attracted a slew of high-profile collaborators, including Novo Nordisk, Boehringer Ingelheim, Celgene, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi and Takeda. They are still part of a 5-year CDK collaboration with Bayer signed in 2016.
Unlike those previous deals where partners assume automatic rights to resulting products, Vifor will be licensing experimental compounds in the jointly owned pipeline to take over registration and commercialization once clinical trials are completed.
“The creation of the joint venture will enable us to identify new targets for renal therapies to bolster our pipeline,” Vifor COO Stefan Schulze said in a statement. “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.”