Evotec forms spin-off company

Topas Therapeutics will focus on building a pipeline of clinical-stage development projects to treat auto-immune diseases

German drug discovery and development firm Evotec has formed a spin-off company, Topas Therapeutics, which is developing a unique immunotherapy approach to treat autoimmune diseases.

Topas has raised €14m (US$15.75m) in a Series A funding round, supported by Evotec and investment companies Epidarex Capital, EMBL Ventures and Gimv.

Gimv invested €4m, confirming its commitment to life sciences, and Evotec is the largest shareholder after the financing round.

The funding will enable Topas to build a pipeline of clinical-stage development projects to treat autoimmune diseases.

The Hamburg, Germany-based firm aims to expand and accelerate its liver-based tolerance induction platform and to progress with its own product development efforts in multiple autoimmune and inflammatory indications including multiple sclerosis into clinical proof-of-concept stage.

We are very excited by Topas’ unique product-platform technology, which has significant breakthrough potential

Timm Jessen, Chief Executive of Topas, said the consortium of investors 'share with us the excellence and commercial potential of this unique mode to induce antigen-specific tolerance in autoimmune diseases and beyond'.

Initial clinical trials are expected to take place in 2017.

'We are very excited by Topas’ unique product-platform technology, which has significant breakthrough potential,' said Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive of Evotec and interim Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Topas.

'The company formation of Topas is the first example of an acceleration of our business model representing an optimal risk-reward profile up to clinical proof-of-concept stage for our shareholders in selected fields of high strategic medical relevance.'

Karl Nägler, Partner of the Gimv Health & Care platform, said Topas Therapeutics' technology is within an emerging field that recently has gained increasing momentum with investors and pharma companies.

'Topas’ unique approach has the potential to fundamentally change the treatment of autoimmune disorders,' he said.

Companies