Pipette träufelt Flüssigkeit in Reagenzgläser


Know what works

How can the right active agents for drugs be found quickly and in a tightly focused manner? The founders of the company Evotec had an idea in the 1990s.

Pharmaceutical research is expensive and time-consuming. Although modern methods make it relatively easy to produce large quantities of the chemical substances that could be used as active agents in drugs, selecting the correct active agents is laborious: out of hundreds of thousands of substances tested, only a few prove suitable for the development of effective and safe medicines. With the abundance of active agents, how can the right ones be quickly filtered out? This question was already on the minds of scientists Karsten Henco, Ulrich Aldag, and Nobel laureate Manfred Eigen in the 1990s. Their vision: a discovery platform to test the medical suitability of a huge number of substances quickly and cost-effectively. In 1993, they began to make their idea a reality by founding the company Evotec in Hamburg.

New measurement method, tiny containers: the foundations for EVOscreen

The researchers developed and further refined two major innovations: an optical detection and measurement method for determining the therapeutic effect of molecules within seconds, and sample carriers for conducting tests in tiny reagent containers with small amounts of substances. This allowed the Evotec founders to test the pharmacological efficacy of hundreds of thousands of chemical substances every day – around the clock and automated –reducing costs dramatically. In addition, the method generated more information than conventional test procedures.

The researchers called their drug discovery platform EVOscreen. It laid the foundation for Evotec’s further developments in the fields of drug research and diagnostics today.

(Image: Le Queinec – Shutterstock.com)

Place of invention

Evotec AG, Essener Bogen 7, 22419 Hamburg