iEvotec Joins Tesaro to Find New Immuno-oncology Targets

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Germany’s Evotec and PARP player Tearo have signed another deal amid a stream of R&D pacts over the past year for Evotec. The deal is for three years and is centered on finding a new small molecule product candidates against an undisclosed immuno-oncology target. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

The deal comes on the same day that Tesaro gained FDA approval for an intravenous version of its own drug Varubi, which will treat chemo-induced sickness. Evotec will utilize its drug discovery platform with Tesoro’s translational research pipeline in hope of pushing on with work in what they hope will be best-in-class oncology therapies.

Jeffrey Hanke, Ph.D and EVP of research and CSO for Tesaro stated, “Tesaro is excited to work with Evotec to expand our discovery capabilities against immuno-oncology targets.” Hanke added, “Oncology is one of Evotec core therapeutic areas of focus and we are pleased to enter into this exciting and innovative partnership with Tesaro, a globally recognised oncology leader and one of the fastest growing biotech companies in the USA.
“This collaboration further demonstrates the value of our integrated research site in Toulouse and our world-leading structural biology group in Oxford. Using our integrated drug discovery platform, we are committed to helping Tesoro drive innovation in this very important field of high-unmet medical need.”

This latest deal builds on a series of deals coming out of Evotec, including last week’s announcement that they will expand collaboration with Forge Therapeutics, focusing on targeting metalloenzymes. Last year it released its first drug unit called Topas therapeutics, which works on tolerizing particles.
[10/27/17, 8:25:28 AM] ITipsDaily: Amgen End CETP Inhibitor After Seeing Merck Data

Amgen has officially ended its development of the CETP inhibitor that it received in its $1.55 billion takeover of Dezima. This decision sees AMG 899 join CETp inhibitors from Eli Lilly, Merck, and Pfizer on the scrap heap and marks the end of leading companies involvement with the once-hyped drug class.

Amgen signaled the program ending in July 2016 when EVP Sean Harper said investment in AMG 899 was suspended pending date on Merck’s rival CETP drug. Following the suspension, Merck posted data linking its CETP to a slight, but statistically significant, improvement that ultimately fell short of the level it needed to justify filing for approval.

The suspension of AMG 899 triggered non cash charges that were big enough to wipe out the savings Amgen made through its cost-cutting agenda in the third quarter. Acquisition-related adjustments for the quarter came to $287 million, a figure Amgen said is primarily linked to AMG 899. Amgen is looking to outlicense the drug but is unlikely to recoup a fraction of what is paid for Dezima.

The giant biotech turned heads in 2015 after paying $300 million upfront to land a drug in the already tarnished CETP class. Back then, Pfizer and Roche’s blow up had already dampened expectations for CETP inhibitors. One month after the Amgen-Dezima deal, Eli Lilly stopped the CEPT phase 3 after a failed futility review.
Amgen’s official exit from the field leaves a couple of smaller companies in the CETp race. DalCor Pharmaceuticals is running a phase 3 trial of dalcetrapib, a drug discarded by Roche. And Korea’s Chong Kun Dang Pharmaceutical is testing its CETP drug in combination with statins in a midphase trial.

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