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Evotec and Secarna Pharmaceuticals form partnership antisense therapy

Evotec and Secarna Pharmaceuticals form partnership antisense therapy

7 August 2020
Image: Claudio Schwarz

Evotec and antisense drug discovery company, Secarna Pharmaceuticals have announced a strategic partnership in the field of antisense oligonucleotide (ASO)-based therapeutics.

Antisense therapy is an innovative, clinically and commercially validated, highly-targeted pharmacological approach which interferes with gene expression in the cells of interest to specifically inhibit the production of proteins which promote development and progression of diseases.

Secarna is the next generation antisense drug discovery company, combining its proprietary LNAplus platform with cutting edge third generation LNA-chemistry to generate molecules with significantly improved potency and a comprehensive safety profile against targets that are difficult to regulate or currently not druggable with alternative approaches. 

Using bioinformatics (Oligofyer), Secarna’s antisense molecules are precisely engineered to specifically bind to the targeted RNA of the gene of interest. Additionally, they are pre-screened and selected because of their high potential for activity. As a result, there is little to no need for lead optimisation which significantly speeds up the discovery and development process compared to conventional therapeutic approaches.

With their framework agreement, Evotec and Secarna have laid the foundation for a long-term platform collaboration spanning across a number of targets and indications. The first programme has been identified and the companies are now progressing towards the establishment of a pipeline of co-owned antisense oligonucleotide therapies. This comprehensive partnership creates a unique opportunity for biotech and pharmaceutical companies to enter the rapidly growing field of antisense therapeutics by partnering with Evotec and Secarna and to gain access to the companies’ co-owned pipeline through a variety of individual deal structures.

Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec, commented: “This strategic partnership with Secarna further complements Evotec’s multimodality platform. Evotec strives to identify the best possible interventions to develop disease modifying therapies in indications with high unmet medical need. Secarna is a leading provider of proven ASO technology with a unique platform to support early stage ASO identification and selection. We look forward to establishing a joint antisense pipeline to make new therapeutic options available to our industry partners and the many patients who urgently need them.”

Jonas Renz, Managing Director at Secarna, added: “Partnering with Evotec will allow us to fully leverage the capabilities of our LNAplus™ technology platform above and beyond Secarna’s already successfully established in-house and partnered programs. By combining Secarna’s industry leading antisense oligonucleotide expertise with Evotec’s unparalleled discovery and development capabilities, we strive to create a high-value, co-owned antisense therapeutics pipeline.”