COLLABORATION

New ‘BRIDGE’ partnership with Oxford to fast-track drug development

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The partnership seeks to drive digital health research and aid the creation of the next generation of medicines.

Germany-based Evotec has forged a new strategic partnership with Oxford University and British clinical AI firm Sensyne Health to drive research and form multiple spinout companies in data-driven drug discovery and development.

Using the BRIDGE (Biomedical Research, Innovation & Development Generation Efficiency) model it developed in 2016, Evotec and its partners will work collaboratively to accelerate the translation of research in the different fields of clinical artificial intelligence and digital health into valuable real-world solutions.

“The medicine of the future will see radical change, driven by the continuing expansion of drug discovery technologies like artificial intelligence and healthcare megatrends like digital health,” Evotec CEO Dr Werner Lanthaler said.

Public-private partnerships like this one not only speeds up the process of creating the next generation of life-saving medicines, it does so in an effective and efficient manner, he added. 

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The partnership, called LAB10x, will work out of Oxford University. Terms of the deal dictate that the projects will be sourced exclusively from Oxford researchers, via its research commercialisation company Oxford University Innovation Ltd (OUI).

An expert in residence seconded by Sensyne to LAB10x will be embedded in the university to work on the projects. The firm will provide its expertise in clinical AI, and regulated software development and data analysis environment under its Quality Management System to select projects and guide them from early-stage discovery to commercial proof of concept.

Oxford University
LAB10x researchers will work out of Oxford University.

“LAB10x will leverage Sensyne’s expertise in digital health and clinical AI, our regulated development environment and our unique partnership model with the University of Oxford and NHS Trusts, to ensure the science is brought through to application as quickly and efficiently as possible – delivering benefits for patients and creating significant value,” Sensyne Health CEO Lord (Paul) Drayson said.

Evotec, meanwhile, will provide access to its drug discovery expertise. Combined with Oxford’s strength and experience in medical, engineering and computer science research, the partnership aims to accelerate speed-to-market of new drug discoveries using AI. 

“Digital health solutions and data-driven insights often require a multidisciplinary approach, bringing together clinicians, medical researchers, engineers and computer scientists,” said Professor Gavin Screaton, Oxford’s Head of Medical Sciences Division.

“With world leaders in these fields, it is no surprise that Oxford University is generating a wealth of exciting innovations in this space and it is vital that this is matched by high-quality translational support which increases the likelihood of future societal benefits.

“LAB10x has huge potential to maximise the impact of medical research and innovation in Oxford.”

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According to a release on the partnership, the technologies developed by LAB10x will be applied to generate and analyse “anonymised patient datasets to improve patient outcomes and accelerate medical research, and pharmaceutical research and development”.

Both Evotec and Sensyne will be entitled to equity in any new LAB10x spinout firms, along with Oxford and its researchers. The two firms, together with Oxford Sciences Innovation, the world’s largest IP investment company dedicated to a single university, will be allowed to co-invest in any seed financing rounds for the startups.

If forming a spinout firm isn’t the chosen commercial route, Sensyne will be allowed to acquire a license to use the IP generated by the projects. 

LAB10x will be supported by a £5 million fund for an initial period of three years. It is the fifth partnership using the BRIDGE model, which was developed to bridge the gap between academia and pharma.