Development partnership focused on oncology target


Evotec SE today announced a new multi-year drug development partnership with Rappta Therapeutics, a Finland-based biopharmaceutical company, focused on an innovative oncology target.

Development partnership focused on oncology target

Under the partnership, Evotec will support Rappta’s programme of developing small molecule activators of the enzyme Protein Phosphatase 2A (“PP2A”), which downregulates multiple oncogenic signalling pathways responsible for driving cancer progression. Although PP2A is a key tumour suppressor and has a critical function regulating protein de-phosphorylation and tumour growth, it has to-date been very difficult to target pharmaceutically.

Through its deep understanding of PP2A biology and the use of proprietary technology, Rappta has uniquely defined the PP2A target which has allowed them to come up with a series of first-in-class compounds which glue the three subunits of PP2A together, thus driving PP2A complex reformation and restoring its tumour suppressive function. Evotec and Rappta intend to develop the programme which is currently in the late lead optimisation stage towards IND-enabling studies over the course of their partnership.

The collaboration leverages Evotec’s industry-leading integrated platform for drug discovery and development including Evotec’s oncology expertise coupled with state-of-the-art technologies to maximise probability of success even in fields of cutting-edge and difficult science. Evotec receives undisclosed research funding and is eligible for success-based milestone payments.

Dr Craig Johnstone, Chief Operating Officer of Evotec, commented: “Evotec is pleased to initiate this first collaboration with Rappta Therapeutics supporting their novel and next generation platform targeting PP2A against cancer. Evotec has a long and successful track record in the oncology field, having achieved numerous milestones including multiple pre-clinical candidates and clinical-stage assets together with our partners. We have been thoroughly impressed with the progress that Rappta has made in mapping out the PP2A target and look forward to working with them to continue their success by delivering solutions for patients with unmet medical needs.”

Mikko Mannerkoski, the CEO of Rappta Therapeutics, added: “We are excited to be working on building a new platform and a novel class of pharmaceuticals to treat cancer. Rappta has a unique team whose deep understanding of PP2A biochemistry, structural biology, biogenesis, medicinal chemistry, and drug development is further supported by Evotec’s capabilities. This is the perfect combination of expertise to translate these discoveries to the clinic.”

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