HAMBURG, Germany, Jan. 7, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Evotec AG (Frankfurt:EVT) (TecDAX) today announced that it has expanded the scope of its collaboration with MedImmune, the global biologics arm of AstraZeneca, after hitting a key milestone. Evotec achieved a milestone payment of €0.5 m. The milestone triggers a commercial license granted to MedImmune and an extension of the diabetes and beta cell regeneration collaboration to the end of 2013. This license and collaboration agreement in the diabetes therapeutic area was initiated in December 2010. Within the agreement MedImmune has exclusive access to a defined set of biologic targets that have the potential to prevent or reverse disease progression in diabetic patients. The size of the combined research team has expanded and Evotec will receive additional research payments to support in vitro and in vivo experiments. As part of the original agreement, Evotec received an upfront payment of €5 m and could earn up to €254 m in further milestones and payments as well as royalties on product sales. The majority of milestone payments are due upon achievement of certain clinical as well as regulatory and commercial milestones. Further milestone payments may be achieved with the approval of additional indications and programs. Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec, commented: "Together with our colleagues at MedImmune and AstraZeneca we have been highly productive in driving forward the development of EVT770 as well as additional molecules in the portfolio. We are proud that we have already achieved the second milestone in this collaboration and are very much looking forward to expanding our efforts and thereby laying the foundation for continued success." Dr Cristina Rondinone, Vice President and Head of MedImmune's Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease Center of Excellence, said: "We are excited to expand our collaboration with Evotec. Diabetes has reached epidemic levels and it is one of the biggest causes of mortality worldwide. Therefore, it is critical that we develop novel and highly effective therapies to slow down and ultimately stop the development of diabetes." ABOUT DIABETES Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic incapacitating disease associated with severe life-long conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, kidney diseases, nerve damage and eye diseases, which require intensive monitoring and control. Diabetes is caused by relative or complete decrease in insulin production and secretion by pancreatic beta cells. Furthermore, diabetes can be caused by the reduced effectiveness of secreted insulin in consequence of the gradual loss of insulin sensitivity of target cells which is called insulin resistance. At present, there is no cure for diabetes and only symptomatic treatment options are available. The most common diabetes types are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Currently, about 90-95% of diabetes patients worldwide have type 2 diabetes. According to the International Diabetes Foundation, there are 371 million people worldwide who are diagnosed with diabetes (2011: 366 million) and about 187 million who are at risk of costly and debilitating diabetes complications who have not yet been diagnosed. It is estimated that about 4.8 million people will have died from diabetes at the end of 2012 (2011: 4.0 million). Concerning the diabetes market volume, approx. $471 bn were spent on the treatment of diabetes in 2012 (2011: $465 bn).