Evotec and ABIVAX collaborate to develop novel antiviral agents

Evotec and ABIVAX have announced a strategic collaboration to discover and develop novel treatments for multiple viral infectious diseases

ABIVAX and Evotec will focus on accelerating discovery and initial development of small molecules in a capital efficient manner.

Dr Mario Polywka, COO of Evotec, said: "Infectious disease represents one of Evotec's core areas of focus and we are delighted to enter into this broad-ranging and exciting partnership with ABIVAX. We are committed along with ABIVAX to driving innovation in this important field with our integrated drug discovery platform in Toulouse, France."

ABIVAX identifies targets and discovers initial drug candidates; Evotec will leverage its industrial state-of-the-art drug discovery platform by optimising ABIVAX's candidates and performing early target development.

Targets in RSV, influenza and dengue viral infections have already been identified by ABIVAX and are being evaluated for further development under the partnership.

ABIVAX's antiviral platform is based on its technology of inhibition mRNA biogenesis and its chemical library of more than one thousand small molecules.

ABX464, ABIVAX's lead candidate in Phase II clinical trials, is based on this mode of action and is the first drug candidate ever shown to reduce HIV reservoirs in humans. Click here to read more.

ABIVAX carries out hit identification experiments as well as in vitro and in vivo pharmacology studies. Evotec will drive the medicinal chemistry design and execution, additional pharmacology, ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion), as well as computational chemistry, mode of action and molecular target identification studies.

Professor Hartmut Ehrlich, CEO of ABIVAX, said: "We look forward to extracting further value from our antiviral discovery platform. Evotec is the ideal partner to efficiently advance these promising programmes in order to address the large unmet medical need of patients with these life-threatening and often deadly infectious diseases."

Financial details were not disclosed. Intellectual property originating from this collaboration and all commercial rights to any drug candidates will be owned by ABIVAX.

This partnership will be supported, in part, by funding from the Projets de R&D Structurants Pour la Compétitivité (PSPC) of the Invest in the Future Program (PIA), a competitive award granted to ABIVAX in January 2017. The programme is supervised by the General Commissariat of Investment (Commissariat Général de l'Investissement) and operated by Bpifrance.

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