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19 June 2018Biotechnology

Evotec acquires Sanofi infectious disease unit

Germany-based drug discovery company Evotec has signed a deal to acquire most of Sanofi’s infectious disease unit.

The companies began negotiating the deal, which will see Evotec in-license the majority of Sanofi’s infectious disease research portfolio and initiatives, in March.

Yesterday, June 18, Evotec announced that it had signed the agreement.

French pharmaceutical company Sanofi will pay €60 million ($74.2 million) upfront and provide Evotec with long-term funding. The agreement will also see Sanofi transfer 100 employees and more than ten drug candidates.

Sanofi will retain certain option rights on the development, manufacturing and commercialisation of the anti-infective products resulting from the licensed assets.

Evotec plans to initially focus on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and superbug infections, tuberculosis and malaria, as well as the creation of novel antiviral therapies.

Werner Lanthaler, CEO of Evotec, said: “With the signing of this transaction, Evotec will have created the highest qualified translational footprint in infectious disease research globally with approximately 180 scientists.”

Infectious diseases are currently treated with antibiotics and anti-viral medication but are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics.

According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development today.

Economist Jim O’Neill, who was commissioned by the UK government to release a report on AMR, estimated in 2014 that 700,000 deaths globally could be attributed to AMR that year. By 2050, he estimated that there would be 10 million deaths per year if nothing is done to reverse the trend.

“Thus, there is a critical need to research and develop medical solutions to combat antibiotic resistant bacteria,” said Evotec.

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