Evotec SE (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, MDAX/TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809; NASDAQ: EVO) and Variant Bio, Inc. today announced a collaboration agreement to identify a best-in-class treatment for diseases caused by fibrosis.

Fibrosis is characterized by marked and pathogenic build-up of the tissue matrix, leading to tissue degeneration in organs, including the liver and lungs. Fibrotic disease contributes substantially to global mortality and morbidity. Despite the chronic nature of fibrotic conditions, widespread impact on various organs, and substantial disease burden, there is currently no curative treatment for these conditions.

The strategic partnership leverages Variant Bio`s cutting-edge genomic discovery capabilities and VB-Inference platform as well as Evotec`s extensive expertise in antifibrotic drug discovery. Evotec will identify best-in-class small molecules targeting a key fibrotic pathway with strong genetic support identified by Variant Bio and progress the program towards the selection of a clinical development candidate(s) using Evotec`s integrated end-to-end R&D platform. Additionally, the collaboration includes an opportunity to evaluate unrelated nephrology targets based on human multi-omics data with Evotec`s molecular patient database (“E.MPD”).

Under the terms of the risk-sharing partnership, Evotec will receive undisclosed research funding and may receive pre-clinical and clinical milestones and/or royalties dependent on the success of the program. This strategic framework allows Variant Bio to offset the early costs of drug development in exchange for a portion of the future upside.

Dr Matthias Evers, Chief Business Officer of Evotec, 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.”

Andrew Farnum, CEO at Variant Bio, said: “Evotec has established and validated in vitro and in vivo models to accelerate program timelines and is ideally positioned to advance our fibrosis program. They have the experience and track record in converting breakthrough science into medicines that matter for patients.”

Dr David Moller, CSO at Variant Bio, added: “We are thrilled to collaborate with Evotec given their deep expertise in disease biology and their outstanding drug discovery capabilities that complement Variant Bio`s R&D team. These factors will play a critical role in the success of our pre-clinical and development goals.”