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Evotec expands collaboration with STORM Therapeutics on its RNA epigenetic platform

  • STORM Therapeutics and Evotec to exploit RNA modulating enzymes for novel epigenetic drug discovery

Hamburg, Germany, 27 July 2017: Evotec AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) announced today an integrated drug discovery collaboration with STORM Therapeutics ("STORM") to develop new small molecule epigenetic drugs for oncology and other therapeutic areas. The focus will be on a range of newly discovered RNA modulating enzyme targets.

Evotec and STORM have been collaborating since 2016 in high-throughput screening and structural biology to identify hits against two of Storm's RNA modulating targets. The agreement has been expanded to support STORM's chemistry efforts on additional novel targets. Evotec will use its broad drug discovery platform to develop the compounds against these novel RNA targets.

STORM was founded based on pioneering work in the Kouzarides & Miska labs at the University of Cambridge to tackle diseases through drugging of RNA modulating enzymes. STORM is the only company harnessing the power of RNA epigenetics as a new area of important biology.

Dr Mario Polywka, Chief Operating Officer of Evotec, commented: "We are excited to be part of this extended drug discovery collaboration with STORM which is targeting this novel class of RNA modulating enzymes. This integrated drug discovery collaboration showcases our industry leading drug discovery platform and expertise and shows how it can be applied to the most novel drug targets."

Keith Blundy, CEO of STORM Therapeutics, added: "We are very happy to further expand this relationship with Evotec. At STORM, our vision is to become the world's first company to deliver a disease-modifying agent that works by targeting RNA modulating enzymes. The combination of our understanding of the unique biology of our multiple targets and the infrastructure we have in place with Evotec will enable us to accelerate the development of novel small molecule drug candidates."
No financial details were disclosed.

RNA AND RNA EPIGENETICS
RNA (ribonucleic acid) is the only direct product of the human genome and as mRNA acts as the template for the synthesis of all proteins, the molecular machines of the cell. RNA is also known to be a key player in cellular decision-making, particularly in the form of non-coding RNA (ncRNA) such as microRNA, piRNA and long non-coding RNA. Almost all of this RNA is chemically modified: over 100 different chemical modifications have been identified to date, catalysed by several large families of RNA-modifying enzymes. The discovery of reversible chemical modifications of RNA and their role in changing RNA activity and regulating key processes within the cell gave rise to the concept of RNA epigenetics. There is a growing understanding of the importance of RNA modifications in the development of cancer and other diseases, providing a wealth of novel therapeutic targets for drug discovery.

ABOUT STORM THERAPEUTICS
STORM Therapeutics is a University of Cambridge spin-out, translating the ground-breaking work of Professors Tony Kouzarides and Eric Miska in RNA epigenetics into the discovery of first-in-class drugs in oncology and other diseases. For further information about STORM Therapeutics please go to www.stormtherapeutics.com.
 

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS Information set forth in this press release contains forward-looking statements, which involve a number of risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent the judgement of Evotec as of the date of this press release. Such forward-looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, and which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements. We expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any such statements to reflect any change in our expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.