University of Birmingham joins drug discovery collaboration with Evotec and Bristol Myers Squibb

Scientist wearing PPE pipettes chemical solutions into test tubes

BHP founder-member the University of Birmingham is part of a new industry collaboration launched to accelerate drug discovery projects by fast-tracking research from lab to patient.

Birmingham is one of four universities selected by drug development company Evotec SE and global pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb to be part of the newly formed beLAB1407.

Evotec, together with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY) launched beLAB1407, a new $20m 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 Nottingham, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Dundee, beLAB1407 offers a unique route to the advancement of first-in-class therapeutics and the creation of spinout 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.

Researchers from the University of Birmingham’s Colleges of Life & Environmental Sciences, Engineering & Physical Sciences and Medical & Dental Sciences work across all areas of drug discovery from target identification to clinical trials, and will have the opportunity to apply for funding from this project.

David Coleman, Director of Enterprise & Innovation, University of Birmingham Enterprise, commented: “Over the last few years, the University of Birmingham has identified a significant pipeline of early stage life science discoveries. The support and investment provided by Evotec and Bristol Myers Squibb through beLAB1407 provides a great opportunity to validate and develop some of these into important therapies for the future, and we’re very excited to be working with them.”

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 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 UK-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 alludes 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, visit www.belab1407.org.

You might also be interested in: