Evotec SE and European antisense drug discovery company, Secarna Pharmaceuticals GmbH & Co. KG entered a strategic partnership in the field of antisense oligonucleotide ("ASO")-based therapeutics. Antisense therapy is a highly-targeted pharmacological approach which interferes with gene expression in the cells of interest to specifically inhibit the production of proteins which promote development and progression of diseases.
Secarna combines its LNAplus platform with cutting edge third generation LNA-chemistry to generate molecules with significantly improved potency and a comprehensive safety profile against targets that are difficult to regulate or currently not druggable with alternative approaches. Using bioinformatics (Oligofyer), Secarna's antisense molecules are precisely engineered to specifically bind to the targeted RNA of the gene of interest. Additionally, they are pre-screened and selected because of their high potential for activity. As a result, there is little to no need for lead optimization which significantly speeds up the discovery and development process compared to conventional therapeutic approaches.
The first program has been identified and the companies are now progressing towards the establishment of a pipeline of co-owned antisense oligonucleotide therapies. This partnership creates a unique opportunity for biotech and pharmaceutical companies to enter the rapidly growing field of antisense therapeutics by partnering with Evotec and Secarna and to gain access to the companies' co-owned pipeline through a variety of individual deal structures.