Press Release

Dundee joins major new drug discovery collaboration

Published on 7 May 2021

The University of Dundee is part of a new industry collaboration launched to accelerate drug discovery projects that will fast track research from the laboratory to patients.

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Dundee and three other UK universities have been selected by drug development company Evotec SE and global pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb to be part of the newly established beLAB1407.

beLAB1407 is a new $ 20 m academic BRIDGE to identify and advance novel and breakthrough drug discovery opportunities across therapeutic areas from the UK’s top-tier academic institutions. Through a unique combination of Evotec’s drug discovery and development platforms and early-stage therapeutic concepts from the Universities of Dundee, Birmingham, Edinburgh, and Nottingham, beLAB1407 offers a unique route to the advancement of first-in-class therapeutics and the creation of spin-out companies.

Evotec’s BRIDGE (Biomedical Research, Innovation & Development Generation Efficiency) collaborations provide an integrated fund and award framework to validate exciting academic projects in collaborations with Pharma and biotech with the goal to form new companies. Since implementing the first academic BRIDGE ‘LAB282’ in Oxford in November 2016, Evotec has continued to evolve similar collaborations with a variety of academic, Pharma and venture capital partners across Europe and North America.

With beLAB1407 representing the continued refinement of the approach, Evotec links one of Europe’s foremost academic clusters of excellence in the life sciences with Bristol Myers Squibb as a major biopharmaceutical partner dedicated to advancing innovation in therapeutics from academia to patient benefit. The beLAB1407 collaboration builds on the longstanding and successful relationship between Evotec and Bristol Myers Squibb in drug discovery across several therapeutic areas.

Dr David McBeth, Director of Research and Innovation Services at the University of Dundee, said, “beLAB1407 is an initiative that will allow creative institutions like the University of Dundee to capitalise on the ground-breaking research that is carried out here every day. The University is proud to champion a culture of entrepreneurship, and we already have an enviable track record in producing successful spin-out companies. Working as part of beLAB1407 will further allow ourselves and our partner institutions to accelerate the drug discovery breakthroughs that we make, a move that could ultimately transform outcomes for many patients.”

Dr Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive Officer of Evotec, said, “We are thrilled to launch beLAB1407 together with our partners at Bristol Myers Squibb with whom we’ve worked on a variety of projects over a period of many years. beLAB1407 provides researchers from the member institutions with a unique way to fast-track their projects, to validate them on our industrial-grade platform and have partnering options including company formations readily available to them.”

Dr Thomas Hanke, Head of Academic Partnerships at Evotec, added, “We are delighted to see the BRIDGE concept gaining further traction in the UK and we very much look forward to working closely with our academic partners in the Midlands and Scotland as well as our colleagues at BMS to identify and accelerate the next generation of first-in-class therapeutics across all modalities and therapeutic areas.”

Dr Rupert Vessey, Executive Vice President and President, Research and Early Development at Bristol Myers Squibb, commented, “This collaboration builds on our important connection to leading European universities. With beLAB1407, we are supporting U.K.-based universities that are exploring many interesting lines of scientific research and discovery. That research combined with Evotec’s proprietary data platforms has the potential to identify new and novel therapies for areas of unmet medical need.”

The name beLAB1407 refers to the distance between Land’s End in the far southwest of Great Britain to its north-easternmost point near the village of John o' Groats in Scotland, which – if travelled by bike – adds up to 1,407 kilometres. To learn more about beLAB1407, please visit www.belab1407.org.

Enquiries

Jonathan Watson

Media Relations Officer

+44 (0)1382 381489

j.s.watson@dundee.ac.uk