Evotec CEO Discusses Ways to Make Drug R&D Faster and Better

Xconomy National — 

Partnering and sharing data will improve the research and development process for all pharmaceutical industry stakeholders, of which there are more than ever, according to a top executive at Evotec.

“Imagine that everyone would drill a hole into the ocean to dig for oil alone—it would be largely and heavily inefficient,” said Evotec CEO Werner Lanthaler during a discussion with journalist Mike Ward at BIO-Europe 2019 in Hamburg, Germany.

“If you create platforms and share platform knowledge, all of a sudden drilling a hole into the ocean becomes a joint operation and it becomes a win-win situation,” he said.

This is why the center of Evotec’s business model is to create a single platform that can be shared with many partners, in business models that work for all involved.

“We’ve seen this in the automobile industry evolving, we have seen this in the oil drilling industry evolving, we’ve seen it in the movie industry evolving over the last twenty years, and there is no reason whatsoever why the pharma, biotech, and innovation industry shouldn’t work the same,” he added.

Headquartered in Hamburg, Evotec is a drug discovery “alliance and development partnership” company, which works with pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, academia, patient advocacy groups, and venture capitalists.

Among its long-term alliances include partnerships with Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Celgene, Novartis (NYSE: NVS), Novo Nordisk (NYSE: NVO), Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), Sanofi (NYSE: SNY), Takeda Pharmaceutical (NYSE: TAK), and others. These collaborations, Lanthaler says, improve efficiency and help drug developers make better and faster decisions.

“The whole idea if you create a platform is that you create long-term partnerships, because if you have to find new partners who work with you all the time also our platforms would be inefficient,” he explains.

Looking to new areas of opportunity, Lanthaler said Evotec almost has an obligation to work with disease-specific foundations.

“These groups very often give a lot of money to academic centers but then it doesn’t translate,” he said. “Today more than 2000 foundations that are out there who are not well treated by this industry because very often we don’t care about these patient groups because the patient groups are too small.”

One area he specifically cited as “an area where I think we have to learn together with our partners” is central nervous system diseases.

“If we just start, for example, to share negative data, the platform will learn and therefore everyone will benefit going forward,” says Lanthaler, adding that this would make “the next experiment a better experiment for everyone.”

(Main photo by Jungwoo Hong on Unsplash)