German drug discovery company Evotec has announced it has signed a multi-year drug discovery collaboration with Japanese pharma company Takeda.

Evotec will leverage its technology platform to establish at least five drug discovery programmes, which Takeda will advance into clinical development. The focus of these programmes will be in Takeda’s core therapeutic areas – oncology, gastroenterology, neuroscience and rare diseases.

The German company’s discovery platform is based upon patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells; it was initially formulated following a partnership with Harvard University and has been expanded upon by acquiring assets from small specialist companies, such as Ncardia in July this year.

For its discovery contribution to the partnership, Takeda will pay Evotec an undisclosed upfront free for access to the platforms. Evotec will also be eligible for pre-clinical, clinical and commercial milestones in excess of $170 per programme, in addition to tiered royalties on future sales.

Takeda global head of research Steve Hitchcock said: “Collaborating with world-class drug discovery partners like Evotec is central to our model for discovering and developing transformative medicines.

“Takeda has a long history of working with Evotec and is confident in Evotec’s capabilities.”

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Evotec chief operating officer Dr Craig Johnstone, added: “We are pleased to enter into another collaboration with Takeda, whose values are aligned with Evotec’s, including a shared commitment to translating highest quality science into highly innovative medicines.

“We believe this collaboration will be very fruitful for both parties and we are excited to combine our resources and skills to produce novel therapies.”

Evotec has numerous drug discovery partnerships with large pharmaceutical companies and organisations across various fields. A recently signed example is the advancement of three antibacterial programmes with Dutch Lygature and European Commission supported research and development consortium The Innovative Medicines Imitative.

Other Evotec partners include Almirall in dermatology, Pfizer and Galapagos in fibrosis and Bayer in diabetes and anti-infectives.