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Evotec: The Largest Medication Discovery in Europe


Aren’t we all glad there’s a solution to almost every medical condition nowadays?

Thanks, science, for making all of our lives easier and healthier! And with the advancement of medicine, more drug discoveries are sure to follow.

One of the most renowned drug research companies, Evotec, is on its way to bringing more pain relief to the world.

Evotec, founded in Hamburg in 1993 by 5 doctors and 2 professors, is deemed one of the largest drug research and development collaboration firms.

The founders’ initial goal was to develop something innovative and establish reasonable costs to maximize the operational efficiency of medications.

Evotec’s main purpose is to work with major biotech firms, academics, and venture capitals to swiftly advance new product approaches. As a platform, Evotec helps its partners make creative steps, and solve challenges by delivering a full portfolio of drug discovery solutions.

All the co-founders made a massive achievement, so stay tuned to hear all about it.

The Childhood Years of Geniuses

The founders’ brilliant minds made a breakthrough in the world of drug research, and we’re about the see how it all started.

The company’s foundations were set by Dr. Charles Weissmann, Dr. Freimut Leidenberger, Dr. Heinrich M. Schulte, Dr. Karsten Henco, and Dr. Ulrich Aldag, along with professor Manfred Eigen and professor Rudolf Rigler.

Nobel Prize winner, professor Manfred Eigen, was born in 1927, in Bochum, Germany. Being brought into the world in such turbulent times, Manfred was forced to grow faster since the war was approaching Germany.

Young Manfred has had a rough childhood, due to World War II which interrupted his official schooling. Manfred was known to be a very ambitious kid, determined and pretty eager to finish school and achieve big things.

After being recruited in WW2, Manfred somehow managed to escape the army, simply because Manfred envisioned himself as a man of the books, and not as a soldier. Young Manfred’s love for studying was greater than anything else.

Dr. Karsten Henco was born in 1952 in Germany. Being a very ambitious and smart child, Karsten has had some pretty daring and innovative ideas even from an early age. In Karsten’s early life, he developed a liking for medicine intertwined with chemistry, and the world is thrilled that his childhood dream became true.

Swiss native, Dr. Charles Weissmann, as stated by his close ones, had always shown leadership skills. Additionally, when Charles was just a teenager going to med school, he had an extraordinary thought which later on turned out true for him- Charles was involved in the first-ever gene cloning.

Not very much is known about Dr. Ulrich Aldag’s and Dr. Freimut Leidengerber’s childhoods as they liked to keep it to themselves. However, both German-born Ulrich and Freimut were just typical children, loved the outdoors, and had some big ideas. We are happy to say, their childhood plans about the future turned out just like they wanted.

On the other side, Dr. Heinrich Schulte, also born in Germany was known as a shy kid who wanted to learn a lot and had excellent grades in school. Even from a young age, Heinrich pretended to be a doctor and played around with his friends. Many years later, all that learning and all the difficulties were worth it, since Heinrich became a well-known doctor and biochemist.

Similar to Manfred, Rudolph Rigler was just a little boy when WW2 started ravishing the lives of people around the globe. All of the hardship and turbulence brought upon by the war distressed Rudolph, as was the case with the rest of the population. Due to the difficult times, Rudolph had to find something to do in order to take his mind off things. Rudolph enjoyed playing the guitar, however, that was just a short-lived hobby because Rudolph later decided to focus more on school.

Building up the Résumé

One of the co-founders, Karsten boasts a very interesting portfolio full of previous work experiences. Along with Evotec, Karsten is a founder of even 14 other companies worldwide, including Germany, the USA, Canada, and Austria. Because of his amazing skills and knowledge in the biochemistry branch, Karsten is also the CEO of many of the 14 companies he founded. Karsten studied biochemistry at two colleges, the University of Hannover and the University of Darmstadt.

Now retired, Dr. Ulrich Aldag, has completed his college education at the University of Bonn, attaining a diploma in biochemistry. Ulrich has been with Evotec as a finance manager since its founding but sadly, he left the team in 1999 to go and pursue other endeavors. Since 2013, Ulrich left Germany and has been a member of a company named Iridescentlearning which is based in America.

After finishing med school, Dr. Heinrich M. Schulte couldn’t wait long enough to become a professor at a medical university. In addition to teaching, Heinrich is a certified specialist in the medical branch of endocrinology and gastroenterology. Heinrich is also a co-founder of other companies, however, Evotec has gained him the biggest fame.

Dr. Charles Weissmann has completed his education at the Medical University in Zurich and got a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the same college, later on. Charles’ professional life is pretty amazing, only to mention that he was a professor of three different subjects at the University of Zurich, all between 1967 and 1999. Charles had also been teaching from 2004 to 2017 at the Scripps Research Institution.

Another co-founder of Evotec, professor Rudolf Rigler, has managed to attain three university degrees. First, Rudolf finished med school, then went on to get a Ph. D. at the Karolinska Institute, where he later stayed as a professor and even became Chairman of the Board of Directors. Also, Rudolf had taught molecular biophysics at several colleges. Rudolf landed a post-doctoral work, along with his friend Manfred.

On the other hand, Manfred earned himself a Ph.D. from the University of Gottingen and pursued his career. Manfred taught at several Chemistry Universities for a long period, and even became President of the German National Merit Foundation. Manfred had garnered many great prizes, however, his biggest achievement was winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

And last but not least, Dr. Freimut Leidenberger is yet another academic who works in the field of biochemistry. After finishing college, Freimut started his journey as a co-founder of several companies, out of which Evotec has had the biggest rise.

Taking Things Slowly But Surely

Even though the seven co-founders started the company back in 1993, things haven’t always been so good as they are now. Evotec officially went public 6 long years after its establishment, in 1999. Since then, luckily enough, everything went uphill for the company, and the co-founders followed.

In 2002, the firm was split into two parts, Discovery and Development Services, and Tools and Technologies, resulting in an even bigger success.

The first million-dollar deal for Evotec came in 2008 when the company bought stocks in a firm named Renovis. After such a financial move, many more achievements and million-dollar stock deals followed, garnering a great number of firms. For a long time, Evotec continued to evolve and keep its place as the largest and greatest medication discovery company in whole Europe.

At the end of 2019, the company became so popular and made partnerships with a number of companies which resulted in the co-founders finally getting some billion-dollar sums. Evotec’s partners such as Celgene, Apeiron Biologics, Bayer Farma AG, and many more are all companies in the biotechnology industry, academic institutions, and other healthcare and medical stakeholders.

As we said, Evotec, as a drug discovery firm, has accomplished some truly remarkable things. By the end of 2018, Evotec, along with its partner Celgene, started using the iPSC-based screening platform to identify some neurodegenerative diseases.

Another more recent collaboration from 2020, was that between Evotec and Bayer when both firms expanded their research in the women’s health branch. Evotec developed numerous treatments for polycystic ovarian syndrome and helped a lot of women.

Raising Million Dollar Sums in Funding

When it comes to funding, Evotec has raised a total of $456.4M in funding over seven rounds of investments. The funding of Evotec is supported by eight investors, out of which the lead one is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which the co-founders consider to be a great honor for them.

Other more recent and lead investors include Novo Holdings, Mubadala, CARB-X, and Biotechnology Value Fund, which invested around $343M together, far more than other investors.

The firm has had a total of 19 investments from its start, however, the most recent one was in August 2021, when Immunitas Therapeutics invested a whopping $58M in Evotec.

Evotec is happy to announce that their valuation at IPO reached even $3.8B on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, which is way more than many similar companies in the same biotech branch have had reached. The IPO date was set to November 4th, 2021, and there were $435M raised, according to some statistics.

There will always be some competitor companies out there. So, the most popular Evotec competitors include Actelion Pharmaceuticals, Eurofins, and BioNTech, among others.

It’s Only Uphill from Now Onward!

It’s clear that Evotec co-founders have no plan on stopping here, based on their constant accomplishments. Since its establishment, the firm has gotten so far ahead and raised staggering amounts in funding. Today, the company consists of over 3,000 employees and holds its headquarters in Hamburg, Germany.

Not to mention the number of other biotech companies, academics, and medical workers, as well as the people worldwide the company has helped with its unique inventions. Such are the iPSC screening platform and the treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome.

Evotec has outlined an action plan for 2025 that is supposed to improve biotechnology even more. The plan is focused on delivering high-quality science and highly efficient changes that will bring significant improvements to the world of science. Recently, the biggest praise has gone to the treatment of PCOS in women, significantly improving women’s health.

All things considered, the world sure needs more genius companies like Evotec. Everything that is left to us is to wait and see what amazing project does Evotec has in store next.