Evotec and Roche have entered into an exclusive worldwide agreement for the development and commercialization of Evotec's MAO-B inhibitor in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Roche will pay Evotec an upfront fee of $10 million, and as much as $820 million in development and commercial milestone payments, as well as tiered double-digit royalties on sales. Roche will initiate studies in 2012 to demonstrate proof of concept and will be responsible for all clinical development, manufacturing and commercialization activities.
Evotec's compound (EVT 302) is a novel, potent inhibitor of monoamine oxidase type B (MAO-B), an enzyme that breaks down the chemical messenger dopamine in the brain and contributes to the production of free radicals. Free radicals are known to cause oxidative stress, which may contribute to pathogenesis of AD as demonstrated by the up-regulation of MAO-B expression in the brain of AD patients. For these reasons, the selective MAO-B inhibitor is targeted to treat AD symptoms and potentially slow disease progression.
The compound, which will be entering clinical studies in AD, was originally licensed from Roche to Evotec in 2006, and initially developed in another indication.
Jean-Jacques Garaud, head of Roche Pharma Research & Early Development, said, "Roche is committed to bringing innovative treatments to patients suffering from devastating neurodegenerative diseases, and is developing a number of approaches to tackle Alzheimer's. The addition of EVT-302 to our CNS pipeline complements other approaches we are investigating including tau- and amyloid- targeted therapies."
Dr. Werner Lanthaler, Evotec's chief executive officer, said, "We are delighted to have Roche as our strategic partner to fight Alzheimer's disease. Their outstanding commitment to pharmaceutical innovation makes Roche the ideal partner to fight one of the biggest healthcare problems of our times."