Evotec has entered a partnership agreement with Variant Bio aimed at detecting a treatment for ailments caused by fibrosis.

The alliance will combine Variant Bio’s genomic discovery expertise and VB-Inference platform with Evotec’s antifibrotic drug discovery capabilities.

Evotec will work on detecting small molecules that act on key fibrotic pathways with robust genetic support identified by Variant Bio.

Subsequently, Evotec will advance this programme towards the selection of clinical development candidate(s) using its integrated end-to-end research and development platform.

The deal also comprises an option to assess separate nephrology targets using human multi-omics data and the molecular patient database of Evotec.

As per the risk-sharing partnership deal, Evotec is entitled to receive undisclosed research funding, with the potential for preclinical and clinical milestones and/or royalties based on the programme’s success.

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Such a strategic framework will aid Variant Bio to offset initial drug development expenditures in exchange for a portion of the future upside.

Characterised by the excessive accumulation of tissue matrix, fibrosis causes degeneration of tissues in organs such as the liver and lungs.

It contributes significantly to global mortality and morbidity as there exists no curative treatment available for the disease at present.

Evotec CBO Dr Matthias Evers said: “We are excited to enter this collaboration with Variant Bio. Variant’s genomics-focused model which identifies novel drug targets perfectly aligns with Evotec’s data-driven approach to redefine diseases at the molecular level and enhance probability of success.

“We look forward to combining our complementary drug discovery platforms in a capital-efficient partnership and drive new, best-in-class fibrosis treatments together.”

In January, Evotec announced a partnership with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation to advance drug discovery and develop new therapies for irritable bowel syndrome, which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.