Evotec enters NMDA antagonist licensing agreement with Janssen


Evotec could receive milestone payments totalling up to US$67m

Evotec has entered into a licensing agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, with regard to its NR2B subtype selective NMDA-antagonist portfolio for development against diseases in the field of depression.

Under the terms of the agreement, Janssen has been granted an exclusive, worldwide licence to a series of small molecule drug candidates.

Janssen has the exclusive right to develop the compounds further and market the resulting products.

Evotec will receive an upfront payment of US$2m from Janssen with an additional $6m to be paid on confirmation of certain pre-clinical properties of the drug candidates.

The German firm could receive additional milestone payments totalling up to US$67m, as well as additional, reduced milestone payments upon successful completion of certain events for additional indications and/or compounds.

Evotec is also entitled to an additional US$100m in commercial milestones provided that it meets certain sales thresholds and royalties.

Evotec will share portions of the payments with F. Hoffmann-La Roche, which originally discovered the molecules.

The compounds in the portfolio are orally active NR2B subtype selective NMDA-antagonists which Evotec developed from discovery through to clinical trials. In 2009 Roche entered into an agreement with Evotec for Phase II clinical development of the portfolio compounds in patients with treatment-resistant depression; this collaboration was terminated in 2011. The rights licensed hereunder are those that Evotec retained to the portfolio of compounds.

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Mario Polywka, chief operating officer of Evotec, said the collaboration with Janssen reflects ‘not only the value attributable to our past development efforts but, more importantly, also enhances the hopes of many patients to gain access to a first-in-class relief of their suffering.’