Evotec gains USD 1.7 million for anti-henipavirus therapies

13 June 2023
Open Philanthropy grant to help Hamburg-based firm develop RNA approach to combatting pandemics

The Hamburg-based Evotec has received a grant of USD 1.7 million from Open Philanthropy to develop RNA-based means of combatting henipaviruses, a press release said Friday (June 2, 2023). Henipaviruses are zoonotic viruses and can be transmitted from animals to humans and cause fatal encephalitis in people. The henipaviral pathogens could potentially trigger a pandemic, according to the WHO. However, no approved medicines or vaccines against henipaviruses have been found so far.

Global networks against viral pandemics

Dr. Werner Lanthaler, CEO of Evotec, commented: “Mission-driven foundations are key for our long-term strategy. This is the first time that we have been supported by Open Philanthropy and we are very excited about this opportunity. The grant will enable us to pursue an innovative RNA-targeting approach to address the pandemic challenges posed by henipaviruses." 

EVOTEC has initiated the Pandemic Preparedness and Rapid Response Technology Platform (PRROTECT) allowing global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to exchange ideas on the development of anti-viral therapeutics in the event of a future pandemic. Lanthaler added: "Through PRROTECT, we strive to make a meaningful contribution to achieve targets set under the UN Sustainable Development Goal (No, 3) and make new, safe and effective treatment options available for these pandemic threats.” 

Evotec's special means of recognizing RNA structures

Evotec's state-of-the-art small molecule RNA platform builds on the company's established drug discovery routes and combines them with novel, highly innovative technologies such as third-generation sequencing and sequence-based structural elucidation of RNA molecules. Low molecular weight compounds, small molecules used in most drugs, target RNA without attacking it, unlike conventional methods. This should open up new treatment options, including for therapy against henipaviruses. Outbreaks of Nipah virus, a genus of henipavirus, have occurred in India and Bangladesh, with an estimated high mortality rate of 40-75 per cent. Outbreak rates vary depending on local capabilities for epidemiological surveillance and clinical management. Nipah virus is one of the pathogens on the WHO list of epidemic threats that need urgent research and development.


Sources and further information

Similar articles

EUR 4 million in funds for Evotec in Hamburg

Biotech company to expand screening facilities - focus on research into COVID-19

Research into antibiotic resistance underway in Hamburg and Marseille

Cities form research collaboration to develop antibiotic agents

EUR 10 million for telemedicine network

Hamburg and Lower Saxony to digitise health care and ease data sharing

EU-backed HALRIC research alliance secures EUR 11 million in funds

North Germany and Scandinavia forge closer co-operation in life sciences backed by EU
The Consent Management Platform ( we use could not be loaded. This can happen if AdBlockers incorrectly block this URL. Some features such as maps, proximity search or forms, cannot be used this way. To use these features, please deactivate your AdBlocker or allow access to *