Providing support from target validation through lead optimization to in vivo proof of concept

The beLAB2122 partners understand the needs and constraints of bringing an early-stage drug discovery project to a value-inflection point where investors would typically like to invest.

Together with the PI, we take a close look at each project and develop a milestone driven work plan that recognizes the expertise of each partner. With success-based financing of each project potentially up to USD 1.5 m, we ensure that we can drive a project to in vivo proof of concept and beyond (amount will be converted to EUR at current exchange rate).

After acceptance of your project following review by a Joint Steering Committee (JSC), the funded work is typically shared between the academic partner and Evotec where a dedicated project leader with drug discovery expertise is assigned to guide each program. In funding the project, we aim to recognize the expertise of the individual partners to ensure the most efficient achievement of the goals and thus transition to the next phase.

At this early stage we are agnostic to the therapeutic approach and some examples of the scope of projects that are likely to receive support include:

  • Target validation – Using tool compounds and antibodies from literature or patents, primary cells and/or in vivo models will be used to demonstrate target engagement with a relevant disease relevant readout
  • Screening and hit identification – For targets of interest we are offering to perform screening with biochemical, functional and cellular responses using Evotec’s proprietary high-throughput screening technologies or other commercial platforms. This can be through providing access to Evotec’s 400,000 compound screening library or antibody production capabilities. Alternatively, we will work with your own chemical matter to develop this further or use in house computational tools to identify additional starting points
  • Antibody development – Where the target dictates, novel antibody identification and subsequent optimization is available. Generated antibodies are then applied to disease relevant in vitro and in vivo assays to demonstrate the proposed mechanism-of-action
  • Structural biology – X-ray crystallography, NMR and other biophysical methods may be applied to understand the mechanism of binding and thus prioritise optimisation
  • In vitro validation – Characterize the potency, selectivity and the functional effects of small molecule or antibody candidates in a suite of translational assays using primary cells from rodents, primates or humans and iPSC models
  • In vivo validation – Using Evotec’s comprehensive and flexible range of DMPK assays we will aim to test optimised compounds in a suite of disease relevant in vivo models also in the PI´s laboratory
  • Medicinal chemistry – We will be able to support your project by designing, synthesizing and scaling up the analogues required to test your compounds in the most relevant biological systems and to develop them further to safe and efficacious treatments while securing a route to novel IP
  • RNA, cell and gene therapy – In bespoke cases, the target might require the exploitation of alternative therapeutic formats. These could be antisense RNA to modulate protein expression levels, cell therapy to replace malfunctioning tissue or gene therapy to restore activity of a gene or add additional functionality