Evotec exiting gene therapy, closing Austria R&D plant

Germany-based life sciences firm Evotec has announced a reset plan within its R&D business, including making a “strategic exit” from the gene therapy space.

Shreeyashi Ojha, Reporter

May 24, 2024

2 Min Read

For the first quarter 2024, Evotec Group announced total revenues of €209 million ($227 million). While this was down 2% year-on-year, CFO Laetitia Rouxel said this is “a testament to our resilience in a challenging environment” and attributed the softness in the results to the development part of Evotec’s shared R&D business.

As such, COO Craig Johnston highlighted footprint optimization, increased investment in R&D and scaling up capacity as focus areas for the firm during its financial call.

Notably, the firm has announced the closing of its Evotec GT (gene therapy) R&D business in Orth an der Donau, Austria, thus, exiting the gene therapy space.

“Gene therapy remains a technologically very challenging areas, [which has] faced a lot of challenges in the past couple of years around safety in particular. And as a result of that, we see and believe that there is a need still for further innovations and investments in R&D in, for example novel vectors, novel delivery like capsid development,” said Johnston.”

“We have taken a focus of our R&D investments into areas that we really feel are very strong for us in the long-run. And therefore, we felt that we could not continue to invest in R&D and novel capsids and novel vectors in the gene therapy space and maintain competitive advantage.”

The firm is working with stakeholders to minimize the impact for the 40 employees working at Evotec GT.  

Bringing focus back to Evotec’s ‘core modalities’, the firm said it was investing heavily in R&D and precision medicine platforms for buoyancy, by partnerships with various firms as part of its ‘shared R&D effort’.  

In January 2024, the firm announced an AI-powered partnership with Owkin to accelerate therapeutics pipeline in oncology and immunology and inflammation (I&I). This was followed by a collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb to advance neuroscience programs. A day later, the firm also partnered with a nonprofit organization Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation to research and provide patient support for inflammatory bowel disease including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, a day later.  

Meanwhile, the firm announced it is introducing a new reporting segment for its contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) unit Just Evotec Biologics. The unit pulled in €54 million, representing over a third of Evotec’s business.

In February, the Seattle-based unit expanded a partnership with CDMO Advanced BioScience Laboratories to serve the US Government and biopharmaceutical industry. In April 2024, the firm collaborated with Variant Bio to research and develop fibrosis treatments. This was followed by Bayer and Evotec renewing their 12 year partnership to advance precision cardiology using human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). 

About the Author(s)

Shreeyashi Ojha

Reporter, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering the manufacturing and processing sectors for biopharmaceuticals globally.  

Originally from India, I am a Londoner at heart. I have recently graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London.  

Feel free to reach out to me at: [email protected].

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