Collaboration launches Autobahn Labs, novel early stage drug discovery incubator

29 June 2020
Image: Clay Banks

Evotec, Samsara BioCapital, KCK have launched Autobahn Labs, a novel virtual incubator partnering with top academic and research institutions to catalyse early-stage drug discovery and development.

Autobahn Labs also announced a first-in-kind strategic collaboration with UCLA Technology Development Group to identify and advance the most promising areas of scientific research with the greatest potential for patient therapies.

“Autobahn Labs was created to be a catalyst for translational research, working with academic scientists and institutions to design and execute an accelerated path to deliver transformational new therapies,” said Thomas Novak, Chief Scientific Officer of Autobahn Labs. “We are very excited to partner with UCLA, a university with a premier reputation for innovation in the life sciences, to realise the potential of that innovation for patients.”

Built on a model of long-term partnership and collaboration, Autobahn Labs invests earlier than traditional venture capital, providing intellectual, financial and physical capital to efficiently and effectively advance new scientific discoveries from novel concept to pre-clinical drug candidate. Working in partnership with leading scientists and university tech transfer offices, the incubator identifies and de-risks early-stage research projects with significant therapeutic potential. Autobahn Labs creates jointly-owned new companies and invests up to $5 million per project. This model provides principal investigators with scientific and operational strategy as well as direct and immediate access to Evotec’s drug discovery and development technologies and capabilities.

“Autobahn Labs is a one-of-a-kind incubator that builds on the well-established foundation of our model of academic partnership programs, to support multiple academic institutions,” said Dr Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive Officer of Evotec. “Providing both funding and access to a powerful drug development platform, Autobahn Labs will be able to efficiently translate the ground-breaking research of leading academic institutions into medical progress to benefit patients with unmet medical need. We are very glad about our first partnership with the internationally renowned UCLA.”

“Many of the most important advances in medicine were born in university labs,” said Srinivas Akkaraju, Managing General Partner, Samsara BioCapital. “While government funding and grants support basic research, there are limited resources available for translational research, particularly in the early stages. Autobahn Labs is investing early with a long-term perspective and a strong commitment to each program’s success.”

“UCLA TDG’s mission is centred on innovation, research, teaching and entrepreneurship to benefit society,” said Amir Naiberg, Associate Vice Chancellor, CEO & President of UCLA Technology Development Group. “TDG is exploring new models for Tech Transfer, this novel strategic collaboration with Autobahn Labs allows us to partner with industry experts earlier than ever before. We believe this will enable us to accelerate the transformation of our early scientific research into new drugs.”

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