Evotec and Bristol Myers Squibb have extended and expanded their strategic partnership to develop a broadened neurodegenerative diseases programme pipeline.

The collaboration between the companies began in 2016, for the purpose of identifying modifying treatments for a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases. Its eight-year extension is aimed at further deepening the strategic alliance.

The partnership pursues an innovative approach to discovering and developing new medicines, using many of the modality-agnostic precision medicine platforms of Evotec.

In September 2021, Bristol Myers Squibb in-licensed the first programme, EVT8683, after the successful filing of an investigative new drug (IND) application with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This programme has now proceeded into a Phase I clinical trial.

Evotec chief scientific officer Dr Cord Dohrmann said: “We are excited to expand our strategic neurodegeneration partnership with Bristol Myers Squibb.

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“This next extension beyond 2030 is a testament to the success and trust of the partnership, as well as to the high degree of confidence placed in our platforms and the complementary approach to generating a leading pipeline of highly innovative drug candidates.

“Together with our BMS colleagues, we are confident that we will deliver new medicines that matter to patients with neurodegenerative diseases.”

Under the terms of the deal, the company will receive an upfront payment of $50m, along with undisclosed licence and performance milestone payments, and tiered royalties on product sales.

Evotec noted that the total transaction results in a $4bn deal, including the upfront and downstream performance milestone payments.

Last May, Evotec and Sernova signed an exclusive worldwide strategic collaboration to develop a cell therapy for treating individuals with insulin-dependent diabetes.

In a separate development, Bristol Myers Squibb received regulatory approval from the European Commission (EC) for Sotyktu (deucravacitinib), which treats moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis in adult patients who are candidates for systemic therapy.

The approval was based on the data obtained from the Phase II POETYK PSO-1 and POETYK PSO-2 clinical trials.