Evotec to Partner with GCKD Study to Facilitate Molecular Analysis of Patient Samples

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Evotec SE and the University Hospital Erlangen just announced a partnership regarding molecular analyses of biospecimens from the German Chronic Kidney Disease (“GCKD”) cohort study. Under the agreement, the research team will make use of Evotec’s proprietary EVOpanOmics and EVOpanHunter platforms to facilitate deep molecular profiling of patient samples. The Evotec platforms combine enhanced throughput proteomics, high-throughput transcriptomics and integrated data analysis.

Initiated in 2009, GCKD was designed to be the world’s largest cohort study on chronic kidney disease. Scientists from eleven universities work together with more than 150 practicing nephrologists to monitor more than 5,000 patients with CKD with biospecimens being taken and supporting interviews being conducted multiple times during the interval. Evotec will also financially support GCKD, which will enable the extension of this important cohort study beyond the initial term of 10 years, allowing future follow-up visits and additional sample analysis.

The multi-omics analysis of the biospecimens from the GCKD cohort study is expected to lead to a deeper understanding of different kidney disease etiologies, their respective disease mechanisms, progression and potential complications. Together with Evotec’s existing molecular patient database, this systematic integrated exploitation of the GCKD biobank will open the door to novel starting points for drug discovery and the identification of biomarkers, enabling precision medicine approaches for highly effective treatment options for clearly defined patient populations.

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Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec, commented: “We continue to work towards our goal to build a highly comprehensive molecular patient database. This collaboration is a major step forward towards this goal and we are very excited about the opportunity to work with this unique network. The GCKD cohort not only complements and expands our already leading kidney disease data base with well-documented long-term survey of CKD patients and corresponding patient samples. The more comprehensive the data base, the more impactful it will be in re-defining patient populations according to disease mechanisms rather than symptoms, identify suitable molecular targets for intervention and stratify patient populations for clinical trials.”

Prof. Dr Kai-Uwe Eckardt, Director of the Department of Nephrology and Medical Intensive Care at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, and Principal Investigator of the GCKD Study, said: “CKD is a severe health problem that affects 10% of the population. The underlying mechanisms are complex and strong efforts are urgently needed to better understand this complexity. We are very excited to enter this collaboration with Evotec, which creates novel synergies and provides the prospect for innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches that can be translated into patient care.”

Prof. Dr Anna Köttgen, Head of the Institute of Genetic Epidemiology at the University of Freiburg, and Member of the GCKD Steering Committee added: “We are looking forward to expand the spectrum of molecular analyses in this cohort, which will greatly facilitate the discovery of robust associations between complex molecular phenotypes and clinical outcomes.”

“One of the challenges in studying CKD is the gradual decline of kidney function that may eventually lead to kidney failure. The GCKD study is unique as a long-term observational study and its extension will further increase the value of this huge research project,” added Prof. Dr Mario Schiffer, Director of the Department of Nephrology and Hypertension at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, and also Member of the GCKD Steering Committee.