Evotec AG and 4-Antibody AG Form Strategic Collaboration to Innovate Antibody Selection

| Source: Evotec AG
  • Evotec and 4-Antibody Launch New High Content Screening Platform for Early Antibody Functionality Testing
  • Novel Screening Process Integrates 4-Antibody Discovery Platform and Offers Evotec Customers New Possibilities for Reduced Late Stage Attrition and Better Efficacy

HAMBURG, Germany and BASEL, Switzerland, May 9, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Evotec AG (Frankfurt:EVT) (TecDAX) and 4-Antibody AG today announced the signing of a strategic collaboration agreement under which Evotec will offer a fully integrated antibody discovery and development service. Evotec's novel and unique high throughput and high content screening approach coupled with 4-Antibody's high throughput antibody selection approach will now allow screening of large and diverse antibody populations for desired functionality and activity at a much earlier stage of selection. This unique combined approach is expected to substantially reduce attrition rates at later development stages and is also expected to be particularly beneficial in aiding earlier distinction and selection between antagonist and agonist antibodies.

Evotec's fully integrated drug discovery and development infrastructure has been adapted to facilitate screening of human antibody populations in combination with high throughput/high content screening coupled to specific biological assays. The new collaboration integrates the output from 4-Antibody's proprietary high throughput in vitro Retrocyte Display® technology for rapid discovery of fully human antibodies into Evotec's high throughput cell-based assay platform.

The Retrocyte Display® technology (Retroviral B lymphocyte Display) is a high throughput cellular antibody expression platform which allows expression and screening of full-length immunoglobulin antibody libraries in mammalian B-lineage cells for the identification of antigen-specific fully human monoclonal antibodies. B-lineage cells are designed by nature for optimal antibody display, and are capable of generating 'better-behaved', fully human antibodies.

Dr Robert Burns, 4-Antibody's CEO, said: "We're delighted to announce this collaboration with Evotec. This will allow pharma players who elect to fully out-source antibody drug discovery access to our platform. It's an ideal partnership since it gives 4-Antibody access to a broader market beyond our primary targets - the companies we think of as 'technology internalizers'. Our primary business model remains unchanged but with the Evotec collaboration we can now offer a fully integrated discovery to development model in the antibody drug space for pharma players who are looking for complete out-sourcing. Everyone in the drug discovery space understands the desirability of introducing functional testing as early as possible in the selection of drug candidates but I don't see other service providers who can offer this fully integrated high throughput capability in the antibody drug space."

Dr Werner Lanthaler, CEO at Evotec added: "We are excited to launch our high-content screening capabilities for antibody selection in conjunction with 4-Antibody, one of the technological leaders in the antibody field. Through a combination of our capabilities, we target an approach to select for functional antibodies. This "EVOmAb" turn-key solution will deliver to our customers a much higher chance to bring an antibody to the market than traditional affinity-selected antibody approaches."

Both parties agreed to share financial rewards of this approach. Evotec will initially pay a € 2m access fee to 4-Antibody, which will be fully reimbursed from future returns. Going forward the Parties will share profits.

About Evotec AG

Evotec is a drug discovery alliance and development partnership company focused on rapidly progressing innovative product approaches with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. We operate worldwide providing the highest quality stand-alone and integrated drug discovery solutions, covering all activities from target-to-clinic. The Company has established a unique position by assembling top-class scientific experts and integrating state-of-the-art technologies as well as substantial experience and expertise in key therapeutic areas including neuroscience, pain, metabolic diseases as well as oncology and inflammation. Evotec has long-term discovery alliances with partners including Boehringer Ingelheim, CHDI, Genentech, Medimmune/Astra Zeneca, and Ono Pharmaceutical. In addition, the Company has existing development partnerships and product candidates both in clinical and preclinical development. These include partnerships with Boehringer Ingelheim, MedImmune and Andromeda (Teva) in the field of diabetes, and with Roche in the field of Alzheimer's disease. For additional information please go to www.evotec.com.

About 4-Antibody AG

4-Antibody is a biopharmaceutical company with a powerful fully-human antibody drug-discovery technology platform which is generating an emerging pipeline of antibody therapeutics. The company's proprietary discovery engine is the in vitro Retrocyte Display® technology, a fast and highly efficient source of antibody drug candidates. Retrocyte Display® generates high quality therapeutic antibody drug candidates quickly using a rapid, high-throughput, flow cytometry approach incorporating full-length IgG format human antibody libraries expressed in mammalian B cells. 4-Antibody provides access to its technologies to select pharmaceutical R&D collaborators and is also generating an in-house pipeline of antibody drugs. 4-Antibody is a private company with strong, commercially-experienced leadership located in Basel, Switzerland and Jena, Germany. For more information please visit: www.4-antibody.com

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS — Information set forth in this press release contains forward-looking statements, which involve a number of risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent the judgement of Evotec as of the date of this report. Such forward-looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, and which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements. We expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any such statements to reflect any change in our expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

Dr Werner Lanthaler
Chief Executive Officer
+49.(0)40.560 81-242
+49.(0)40.560 81-333 Fax

Evotec AG
Manfred Eigen Campus
Essener Bogen 7
22419 Hamburg (Deutschland)

Dr Robert Burns
4-Antibody AG
t: +41-61-633-22-60
e: robert.burns@4-antibody.com