Evotec OAI AG (Deutsche Borse: EVT, TecDAX 30), a partner for integrated high-value-added drug discovery and development solutions to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, and Panacos Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biotechnology company developing novel antiviral drugs for the treatment of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection and other major viral diseases, have entered into a medicinal chemistry collaboration.

Panacos will take advantage of Evotec OAI's full range of state-of-the-art medicinal chemistry capabilities to identify drug candidates for the treatment of HIV infection.

Panacos recently began Phase 1 clinical trials of its small molecule, orally-available HIV drug candidate PA-457. PA-457 is the first in a new class of HIV drugs called Maturation Inhibitors, which have a mechanism of action that differs from those of approved HIV drugs. As a result, PA-457 exhibits potent activity against HIV strains resistant to current therapies, including inhibitors of reverse transcriptase and viral protease. The company also has an active discovery program focusing on the identification of small molecule inhibitors of viral fusion to human cells.

Mark Ashton, PhD, president Drug Discovery Services at Evotec OAI, said: "In working closely with the scientists at Panacos we were excited about the depth and level of scientific disease expertise. We are very pleased that Panacos has selected Evotec OAI as their partner of choice to support them in the advancement of this new class of compounds for HIV therapy."

"Evotec OAI is an industry leader in the supply of medicinal chemistry services to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries." commented Carl T. Wild, PhD, chief science officer of Panacos Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "We look forward to working with their team of experienced scientists in developing the next generation of HIV therapies."

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