Boehringer Ingelheim, Evotec and bioMérieux launch a joint venture

Michel Pairet, Head of Innovation Unit at Boehringer Ingelheim

Boehringer Ingelheim, a biopharmaceutical firm, the life science firm Evotec SE and bioMérieux, a vitro diagnostics firm, have formed a joint venture to create the next gen of antimicrobials along with actionable diagnostics to fight Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

What does the partnership mean for the industry?

The resulting firm, Aurobac Therapeutics SAS, will combine the best capabilities of the three founding firms towards developing a precision medicine approach, from diagnosis to cure. The aspiration is to succeed in the fight against AMR, which is a major public health threat.

Having routine surgery such as caesarean sections or hip replacements may become life threatening, and complications from common diseases such as diabetes and injuries or cuts will become harder to manage because of growing resistance to antibiotics in patients.

Aurobac will work to shift the strategy related to antibiotic treatment regimens which at the moment leans heavily on empirical approaches using broad-spectrum and unfocused medicines. The goal is to turn this into a precision approach, using new highly effective and targeted modalities, combined with rapid and actionable diagnostics to quickly identify pathogens and their resistance patterns, and supported by new economic models.

What skillsets will be leveraged in the consortium?

Funded by Boehringer Ingelheim as lead investor with 30m EUR and by Evotec and bioMérieux with 5m EUR each, the 40m EUR joint venture, which has its headquarters in Lyon, combines the expertise of Evotec, one of the most active research firms in infectious diseases, with bioMérieux’s expertise in infectious disease diagnostics and with Boehringer Ingelheim’s broad drug discovery and significant clinical development capabilities.

Boehringer Ingelheim’s participation in Aurobac is part of a wider so-called pandemic preparedness initiative, which includes a 50 million EUR investment in the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) action fund by Boehringer Ingelheim. Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund has committed to invest up to 12 million EUR in Antimicrobial Resistance infection firms.

bioMérieux has over 55 years of diagnostics expertise with more than 75% of its research and development budget focused on antimicrobial resistance. Moreover, 80% of its turnover is related to the fight against AMR through a complete diagnostic solution facilitating antibiotic therapy decision-making, including antibiotic initiation, optimization, and discontinuation.

Evotec has built a top platform to tackle infectious diseases. With a over 200-strong anti-infective discovery team, the firm has proven experience on multiple agent classes.

On top of the company’s own pre-competitive pandemic preparedness and rapid response technology platform (PRROTECT), Evotec leverages its infectious disease capabilities with many industry, academic and non-profit partners and is active in a variety of networks such as the AMR Accelerator that is part of the EU’s Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI).

What were the executives’ thoughts on the partnership?

“The rise of antibiotic-resistant infections – also called antimicrobial resistance, or AMR – is indeed a looming global crisis. Antibiotic resistance kills about 1.27 million globally people every year and it has been estimated that by 2050, as many as 10 million worldwide deaths could result from AMR, making it potentially deadlier than cancer,” said Michel Pairet, Head of Boehringer Ingelheim’s Innovation Unit and Member of the Board of Managing Directors.

Werner Lanthaler, CEO of Evotec added: “The grim prospect of a post-antibiotic era has many causes but only one solution: The development of new, targeted, and effective antimicrobial therapies. We are excited to launch Aurobac together with our partners at Boehringer Ingelheim and bioMérieux, to combine our complementary strengths.”

“By leveraging Evotec’s multimodality approach to infectious diseases, we are confident that Aurobac will be able to generate much-needed progress to tackle the challenge of AMR.”

“bioMérieux has a strong expertise in antimicrobial resistance. We supply the most comprehensive integrated diagnostic solutions to support an appropriate use of antibiotics (antimicrobial stewardship),” said Alexandre Mérieux, bioMérieux Chairman and CEO.

“Our role is to develop and commercialize diagnostic tests, including Companion Diagnostics, which deliver rapid, reliable and actionable results. This participation in Aurobac is perfectly aligned with bioMérieux’ full commitment to sustain antibiotic efficacy for future generations.”