Evotec forms assay partnership

Spermatech has selected Evotec, whose UK base is in Abingdon, as a partner to identify small molecule therapeutics for their pharmaceutical discovery project.

Spermatech study the motility of sperm and have identified biological targets that could be exploited in the development of non-hormonal reversible male contraceptives. Evotec and Spermatech will work together on a tailored drug discovery project in this field.

Evotec will apply its expertise and proprietary technologies in assay development, high throughput screening and NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) screening to identify inhibitors of the sperm specific target protein. The screening will be performed with Evotec’s screening library of 250,000 drug-like compounds. Compounds will be identified that reduce sperm motility and will be used in the development of non-hormonal reversible male contraceptives at Spermatech. In addition, compounds that promote target activity may be evaluated as supporters of male fertility.

Dr Mark Ashton, executive vice president of business development services at Evotec, said: ‘We are extremely pleased that Spermatech has selected Evotec for this interesting project. It will allow us to use our combined technologies in assay development, high-throughput screening and NMR screening to identify the most promising candidates in the therapeutic field. Evotec’s highly diverse compound library is a good starting point to identify such active molecules and the additional results from NMR investigations of the hits with the target protein will provide the medicinal chemists with useful information to support subsequent drug design.’