Using assays developed as part of its global Pandemic Preparedness and Rapid Response initiative (PRROTECT), Evotec has already demonstrated potent activity of the molecule in pre-clinical in-vitro studies: championing the potential to produce a powerful antiviral response against infections with SARS-CoV-2.
By amplifying the immune response against coronavirus infections, the molecule could potentially reduce the viral load: and consequently early administration may ‘significantly lower’ the risk of a severe progression of COVID-19 that requires hospitalisation of patients.
Hamburg-headquartered Evotec will use the grant to start clinical studies assessing the safety and efficacy of the compound, and to determine the optimal dose-range in both healthy volunteers and COVID-19 patients.
It will use its existing Just - Evotec Biologics manufacturing platform to manufacture clinical material and initiate clinical development of EVT075.
Dr Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive Officer of Evotec, said: "As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become apparent that besides continuing to build up immunity by way of vaccinations, effective therapeutics against the disease are also urgently needed.
"By amplifying the immune response and lowering the viral load, the molecule can help reduce the share of people requiring inpatient treatment, and thus the enormous strain the pandemic is putting on the global health systems. Having leveraged our pandemic preparedness platform PRROTECT, we are excited to use the grant from the BMBF to bring a potential COVID-19 therapeutic into the clinic."