Evotec Rises on Harvard Diabetes Pact Discovery: Hamburg Mover

Evotec AG rose for a third day as researchers in its CureBeta pact said they discovered a hormone that holds promise as a novel diabetes treatment.

Evotec rose as much as 7.2 percent and was trading 5.3 percent higher at 2.38 euros at 10:30 a.m. in Frankfurt today, giving the Hamburg-based company a market value of 282 million euros ($368 million). Evotec helps biotechnology companies and drugmakers develop treatments.

Harvard University scientists discovered a hormone called betatrophin that spurs the growth of beta cells, the body’s insulin factories, according to research led by Douglas Melton, co-director of the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An almost-identical hormone in humans seems to serve the same function, Melton and his colleagues said yesterday in the journal Cell.

“Thus, betatrophin treatment could augment or replace insulin injections,” the researchers said in an abstract of their research, possibly benefiting type 1 and type 2 diabetics.

Melton is part of the CureBeta initiative, set up in early 2011 by Evotec, Harvard and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In July 2012, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit licensed the molecule.

Evotec has shifted its business focus to very early-stage development, shuttling prospective treatments from academic research to pharmaceutical companies, as well as offering drug-development services, and no longer wants to find and market its own products.