Novo Nordisk taps Evotec to target chronic kidney disease – FierceBiotech

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Chronic Kidney Disease Prevention

Chronic Kidney Disease Prevention Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen (Novo Nordisk)

Chronic Kidney Disease Prevention

Novo Nordisk has signed up to work with Evotec on the discovery and development of chronic kidney disease (CKD) drugs. The deal comes two years after Novo Nordisk licensed a kidney disease prospect from Epigen Biosciences as part of its effort to expand into areas adjacent to its core diabetes business.

Chronic Kidney Disease Prevention

In recent years, Novo Nordisk has tried to expand beyond the competitive, price-pressured diabetes market, leading it to identify CKD as a good fit for its capabilities. Novo Nordisk’s interest in CKD stems, in part, from the fact that around one-third of diabetics also suffer from the condition.

Chronic Kidney Disease Prevention

Novo Nordisk made an early play for the CKD space in 2018 when it picked up the rights to Epigen’s orally available LPA1 receptor antagonist EPGN696 for up to $200 million in upfront and milestone payments.

Chronic Kidney Disease Prevention

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Chronic Kidney Disease Prevention

Now, Novo Nordisk has moved to expand its CKD pipeline through a deal with drug discovery service provider Evotec. The deal will see Evotec grant Novo Nordisk access to medical and molecular data from CKD patients. Together, Evotec and Novo Nordisk will use the databases to identify and develop novel targets.

Chronic Kidney Disease Prevention

Evotec and Novo Nordisk will share responsibilities before programs reach the clinic. Novo Nordisk will take sole responsibility for clinical trials and commercialization. If programs succeed, they could be worth upward of €150 million ($179 million) each to Evotec in upfront fees, research funding and milestones.

Chronic Kidney Disease Prevention

The nature of the candidates that emerge from the collaboration will depend on the biology Evotec and Novo Nordisk uncover. The partners plan to take a therapeutic modality-agnostic approach.

Evotec has entered into a series of kidney disease deals over the past decade, signing up to support Harvard University’s search for biomarkers and treatments in 2012 before going onto land deals with Bayer and Vifor. Along the way, Evotec bolstered its capabilities by securing access to kidney disease patient cohorts from U.K. biobank the National Unified Renal Translational Research Enterprise.

News of the latest kidney disease collaboration comes two years after Evotec disclosed a deal with Novo Nordisk to discover and develop small-molecule treatments for diabetes, obesity and common comorbidities such as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease.

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