HAMBURG, Germany, March 10, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Evotec AG (Frankfurt:EVT) today announced the establishment of a research collaboration with Harvard University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) aimed at discovering and developing new treatments in the field of diabetes. The initial goal of the collaboration is to pursue a comprehensive and systematic approach towards the identification and development of physiological mechanisms and targets that regulate beta cell replication. Harvard, HHMI, and Evotec bring together extensive expertise and know-how in beta cell biology and diabetes along with an unparalleled set of tools to exploit beta cell related mechanisms and targets. This unique collaboration will be fueled by substantial scientific contributions from Harvard and HHMI as well as Evotec's firm commitment to deliver on their common goal to develop orally available small molecule therapies that trigger or support beta cell replication. Therapies that trigger/support beta cell replication are expected to enhance or even restore the body's ability to produce sufficient insulin to maintain optimal glycemic control and thereby reduce and prevent the development of diabetic complications. Leveraging key insights about beta cell replication and forming co-development alliances with pharmaceutical companies at the appropriate point in the development chain are the core strategic drivers of the collaboration. "We are very proud to have entered into this collaboration with Harvard and HHMI. We are convinced that it will lead to the development of a pipeline of exciting drug candidates in diabetes," said Dr. Cord Dohrmann, CSO of Evotec. "Existing therapies have proven largely ineffective against the progression of most degenerative diseases including diabetes. We are enthusiastic about exploring new mechanisms that have the potential to restore beta cell function and produce first-in-class therapeutics for the treatment of diabetes in collaboration with Harvard and HHMI." Dr. Doug Melton, Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor at Harvard University, and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, will be the principal investigator for Harvard and HHMI. "We're very pleased to enter into this collaboration with Evotec, which joins together leaders in academic research and industry to progress groundbreaking research more rapidly from the lab to the clinic," said Isaac T. Kohlberg, Harvard's Chief Technology Development Officer and head of its Office of Technology Development. "It exemplifies Harvard's commitment to creatively partner with industry in ways that will advance the boundaries of translational science and fulfill our mandate to serve the public interest." Further details and commercial terms of the cooperation are not disclosed.