HAMBURG, Germany, Dec. 17, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Evotec AG (Frankfurt:EVT) (TecDAX) today announced that it has entered into a license agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ("Janssen") regarding its NR2B subtype selective NMDA-antagonist portfolio for development against diseases in the field of depression. Under the terms of this agreement Janssen has been granted an exclusive, worldwide license to a series of small molecule drug candidates. Janssen has the exclusive right to further develop the compounds and market the resulting products. Janssen Research & Development, LLC, an affiliate of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., will conduct the clinical development work under the agreement. Evotec will receive an upfront payment of USD 2 million with an additional USD 6 million to be paid upon confirmation of certain pre-clinical properties of the candidates. Evotec is eligible to receive additional milestone payments from Janssen upon the successful completion of certain clinical, regulatory and launch events for a first product, which may total up to USD 67 million, as well as additional, reduced milestone payments upon successful completion of certain events for additional indications and/or compounds. Evotec shall be entitled to receive an additional USD 100 million in commercial milestones depending and upon meeting certain sales thresholds and royalties which could be as high as double-digit on certain future sales of royalty bearing products. Evotec will share portions of the payments with F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., which originally discovered the molecules. The compounds in the portfolio are orally active NR2B subtype selective NMDA-antagonists which were developed from discovery stages through to clinical studies by Evotec. In 2009 Roche entered into an agreement with Evotec for Phase II clinical development of the portfolio compounds in patients with treatment-resistant depression; this collaboration was terminated in 2011. The rights licensed hereunder are those that Evotec retained to the portfolio of compounds. Dr. Mario Polywka, Chief Operating Officer of Evotec, commented: "Evotec has worked towards tackling the significant need for an effective treatment approach against depression. The now sealed collaboration with Janssen reflects not only the value attributable to our past development efforts but, more importantly, also enhances the hopes of many patients to gain access to a first-in-class relief of their suffering. We are happy to team with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, one of the leaders in the field for the further development of our NMDA antagonists." The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies leverage world-class discovery and development expertise and operational excellence to bring to market innovative, effective treatments in five therapeutic areas: cardiovascular and metabolism, immunology, infectious diseases and vaccines, neuroscience, and oncology. For more than 50 years Janssen has been a leader in neuroscience with many innovative products in psychiatry, neurology and pain.