Evotec and Secarna Pharmaceuticals form Strategic Partnership in the Field of Antisense Therapy
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Evotec and Secarna Pharmaceuticals form Strategic Partnership in the Field of Antisense Therapy

Wednesday, August 5, 2020 2:00 AM
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  • COMPREHENSIVE LONG-TERM PLATFORM AGREEMENT FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF NOVEL ANTISENSE OLIGONUCLEOTIDE THERAPEUTICS ACROSS A BROAD RANGE OF TARGETS AND INDICATIONS
  • EVOTEC AND SECARNA SHARE DISCOVERY & DEVELOPMENT RESPONSIBILITIES BUILDING CO-OWNED INDUSTRY-LEADING LNAplusTM-BASED ANTISENSE PIPELINE
  • FIRST JOINT DISCOVERY AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME AGAINST UNDISCLOSED TARGET INITIATED

HAMBURG and MARBURG, GERMANY / ACCESSWIRE / August 5, 2020 / Evotec SE (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, MDAX/TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) and the leading independent European antisense drug discovery company, Secarna Pharmaceuticals GmbH & Co. KG ("Secarna"), today announced a strategic partnership in the field of antisense oligonucleotide ("ASO")-based therapeutics. Antisense therapy is an innovative, clinically and commercially validated, highly-targeted pharmacological approach which interferes with gene expression in the cells of interest to specifically inhibit the production of proteins which promote development and progression of diseases.

Secarna is the next generation antisense drug discovery company, combining its proprietary LNAplus(TM) platform with cutting edge third generation LNA-chemistry to generate molecules with significantly improved potency and a comprehensive safety profile against targets that are difficult to regulate or currently not druggable with alternative approaches. Using state-of-the-art bioinformatics (Oligofyer(TM)), Secarna's antisense molecules are precisely engineered to specifically bind to the targeted RNA of the gene of interest. Additionally, they are pre-screened and selected because of their high potential for activity. As a result, there is little to no need for lead optimisation which significantly speeds up the discovery and development process compared to conventional therapeutic approaches.

With their framework agreement, Evotec and Secarna have laid the foundation for a long-term platform collaboration spanning across a number of targets and indications. The first programme has been identified and the companies are now progressing towards the establishment of a pipeline of co-owned antisense oligonucleotide therapies. This comprehensive partnership creates a unique opportunity for biotech and pharmaceutical companies to enter the rapidly growing field of antisense therapeutics by partnering with Evotec and Secarna and to gain access to the companies' co-owned pipeline through a variety of individual deal structures.

Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec, commented: "This strategic partnership with Secarna further complements Evotec's multimodality platform. Evotec strives to identify the best possible interventions to develop disease modifying therapies in indications with high unmet medical need. Secarna is a leading provider of proven ASO technology with a unique platform to support early stage ASO identification and selection. We look forward to establishing a joint antisense pipeline to make new therapeutic options available to our industry partners and the many patients who urgently need them."

Jonas Renz, Managing Director at Secarna, added: "Partnering with Evotec will allow us to fully leverage the capabilities of our LNAplus(TM) technology platform above and beyond Secarna's already successfully established in-house and partnered programs. By combining Secarna's industry leading antisense oligonucleotide expertise with Evotec's unparalleled discovery and development capabilities, we strive to create a high-value, co-owned antisense therapeutics pipeline."

About Antisense Therapy
Antisense therapy is a form of treatment for a broad range of indications such as genetic disorders or infections. The genetic information of a cell is stored in the form of a double-stranded DNA in the nucleus which is composed of two strands with sequences that are complements of each other usually differentiated as the "sense" strand and the "antisense" strand. The antisense strand serves as the source for the protein code, because, with bases complementary to the sense strand, it is used as a template for the (pre-)messenger RNA ("(pre)mRNA") which in turn translates the information for the subsequent protein production. The molecules used as an antisense therapy are chemically modified short single-stranded DNA sequences engineered to be complementary to the (pre)mRNA coding for the targeted protein. By binding to certain mRNA strands, antisense therapy can downregulate gene expression, for instance to prevent the production of proteins that promote development and progression of diseases.

ABOUT SECARNA PHARMACEUTICALS GMBH & CO. KG
Secarna Pharmaceuticals is the leading independent European antisense drug discovery company. The Company's proprietary third-generation antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) platform, LNAplus(TM), which encompasses all aspects of drug discovery and pre-clinical development, enables the discovery of highly specific, safe, and efficacious best-in-class antisense-based therapies for challenging or currently undruggable targets. Secarna's platform and ASOs have previously been validated by numerous in-house projects as well as in several academic and industry collaborations. The Company has over 15 development programs in various stages of pre-clinical development focusing on targets in indications such as immuno-oncology, immunology, ophthalmology, as well as viral-, neurodegenerative- and cardiometabolic diseases, where antisense-based approaches have clear benefits compared to other therapeutic modalities,
www.secarna.com

ABOUT EVOTEC SE
Evotec is a drug discovery alliance and development partnership company focused on rapidly progressing innovative product approaches with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academics, patient advocacy groups and venture capitalists. We operate worldwide and our more than 3,000 employees provide the highest quality stand-alone and integrated drug discovery and development solutions. We cover all activities from target-to-clinic to meet the industry's need for innovation and efficiency in drug discovery and development (EVT Execute). 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 neuronal diseases, diabetes and complications of diabetes, pain and inflammation, oncology, infectious diseases, respiratory diseases, fibrosis, rare diseases and women's health. On this basis, Evotec has built a broad and deep pipeline of approx. 100 co-owned product opportunities at clinical, pre-clinical and discovery stages (EVT Innovate). Evotec has established multiple long-term alliances with partners including Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, CHDI, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Sanofi, Takeda, UCB and others. For additional information please go to
www.evotec.com and follow us on Twitter @Evotec.

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 press release. 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.

Contact Evotec SE:
Gabriele Hansen, SVP Corporate Communications, Marketing & Investor Relations, Phone: +49.(0)40.56081-255, [email protected]

SOURCE: Evotec AG via EQS Newswire

Evotec AG
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