Serono and Evotec OAI Sign Assay Development and Screening Services Agreement

Apr 26, 2001, 01:00 ET from Serono S.A.

    GENEVA, HAMBURG, Germany and ABINGDON, England, April 26 /PRNewswire/ --
 Serono S.A. (NYSE:   SRA; SWX Swiss Exchange: SEO) has announced a services
 agreement with Evotec OAI, Hamburg, Germany (EVOTEC BioSystems AG, Neuer
 Markt: EVT), a supplier of integrated high-value added biological, chemical
 and screening programs to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
     Under the terms of the agreement, Evotec OAI will develop a novel
 biological assay for one of Serono's cellular targets using its proprietary
 VLiP(TM) technology.  After the successful development of this assay, Evotec
 OAI will perform screening and compound profiling using its EVOscreen(R)
 technology to identify chemical compounds that mimic one of Serono's
 proprietary proteins.  Many of the 200,000 compounds to be tested have been
 synthesized by Evotec OAI for Serono in a separate combinatorial chemistry
 program started in 1998.
     Dr. Timothy Wells, Head of Discovery for Serono, said: "We continue to
 emphasize a strategy of selective partnering to access leading-edge technology
 in our search for new molecules.  This strategic collaboration with Evotec OAI
 has grown since 1998 to now include the complementary technologies of
 combinatorial chemistry, assay development, and high-throughput compound
 screening."
     Dr. Timm Jessen, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec OAI, said: "This new
 collaboration with one of the most prestigious biotechnology companies in the
 world further validates the strategic rationale behind the merger of EVOTEC
 and OAI: providing integrated biology and chemistry services to our customers.
     In addition, this is another example of the high potential of our newly
 developed VLiP(TM) assay technology, which enables the development of
 cell-like assays in a robust biochemical environment."
     Fees for this new service agreement were not disclosed.  The agreement
 includes an option for Serono to negotiate similar services for additional
 targets.
 
     About Serono
     Serono, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, is a global biotechnology
 leader.  The Company has six recombinant products on the market, Gonal-F(R),
 Luveris(R), Ovidrel(R), Rebif(R), Serostim(R) and Saizen(R). In addition to
 being the world leader in reproductive health, Serono has strong market
 positions in neurology, metabolism and growth.  The Company's research
 programs are focused on growing these businesses and on establishing new
 therapeutic areas.  Currently, there are eleven molecules in development.
     In 2000, Serono achieved worldwide revenues of US$1.240 billion, and a net
 income of US$301 million, making it the third largest biotech company in the
 world based on revenues.  The Company operates in 45 countries, and its
 products are sold in over 100 countries.  Bearer shares of Serono S.A., the
 holding company, are traded on the SWX Swiss Exchange (SEO) and its American
 Depositary Shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (SRA).
 
     About Evotec OAI
     Evotec OAI offers the full range of high-value added products and services
 required to discover and develop drugs more effectively and efficiently.  By
 integrating accelerated methods in biology, chemistry and screening, the
 Company has established a unique position as a one-stop-shop for all the
 critical elements in the drug discovery research and development process from
 target to clinical development.  Approximately 500 people are based in
 Hamburg, Germany and Abingdon; U.K. Evotec OAI already has close links with
 many of the leading companies in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology
 industries.  The Company's shares are listed on the Neuer Markt of the
 Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
 
     VLiP(TM) technology
     Evotec OAI has developed the VLiP(TM) technology, a new generic method to
 simplify and improve the precision of tests on transmembrane receptors such as
 GPCRs (G-protein coupled receptors).  This development revolutionizes the
 screening of GPCRs in ultra-high throughput format, the most important target
 class for the pharmaceutical industry.  This new innovative method eliminates
 problems often encountered in studying these receptors, such as inaccuracy and
 lack of reproducible expression, which are common with the use of cellular
 systems in drug discovery research.
     By modifying a natural process, i.e. the release of a virus from a cell,
 Evotec OAI succeeded for the first time in removing small vesicle like
 particles (VLiPs(TM)) of the same size from the cell membrane.  These VLiPs
 carry the receptors in high concentration on their surface.  This approach now
 enables the receptors to be tested in their natural environment, thereby
 significantly reducing the interference of other cell surface proteins with
 the signals.  Because these particles react in a way similar to individual
 molecules, Evotec OAI's own fluorescence technology with its single-molecule
 detection is ideally suited to achieve data with exceptional precision and
 quality.
 
     EVOscreen(R)
     EVOscreen(R) is the world's first fully-operational, automated
 miniaturized system, accurate to one microliter, designed for ultra-high
 throughput screening (uHTS).  EVOscreen(R)'s potential is based on the
 combination of miniaturization, automation and Evotec OAI's proprietary
 single-molecule detection technology for the analysis of target compound
 interactions. The system has the potential for a throughput of 100,000 tests
 per day.  In the process of analyzing minute assay volumes it generates data
 with a high information content and delivers cost savings by significantly
 reducing the consumption of valuable reagents.  With EVOscreen(R), Evotec OAI
 has secured a leading position in the field of ultra high throughput screening
 (uHTS).
 
     Some of the statements in this press release are forward-looking. Such
 statements are inherently subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties
 and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements
 of Serono S.A. and affiliates to be materially different from those expected
 or anticipated in the forward-looking statements.  Forward-looking statements
 are based on Serono's current expectations and assumptions, which may be
 affected by a number of factors, including those discussed below and more
 fully described in Serono's prospectus filed with the U.S. Securities and
 Exchange Commission on July 26, 2000.  These factors include any failure or
 delay in Serono's ability to develop new products, any failure to receive
 anticipated regulatory approvals, any problems in commercializing current
 products as a result of competition or other factors, our ability to obtain
 reimbursement coverage for our products, and government regulations limiting
 our ability to sell our products.  Serono has no responsibility to update the
 forward-looking statements contained in this press release to reflect events
 or circumstances occurring after the date of this press release.
 
     For more information, please contact:
 
     Serono International S.A., Geneva, Switzerland
 
     Media Relations:
     Tel: +41-22-739-36-00
     Fax: +41-22-739-30-85
     http://www.serono.com
 
     Investor Relations:
     Tel: +41-22-739-36-01
     Fax: +41-22-739-30-22
     Reuters: SEOZ.S/SRA.N
     Bloomberg: SEO SW/SRA US
 
     Noonan/Russo Communications:
     Tel: +44-207 726 4452
     Fax: +44-207 726 4453
     http://www.noonanrusso.com
 
     EVOTEC BioSystems AG (Evotec OAI)
     Investor  Relations, Corporate Communications
     Anne Hennecke / email: anne.hennecke@evotecoai.com
     Tel: +49 -40- 560 81 286
     Fax: +49 -40- 560 81 333
     http://www.evotecoai.com
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -- Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X40925197
 
 

SOURCE Serono S.A.
    GENEVA, HAMBURG, Germany and ABINGDON, England, April 26 /PRNewswire/ --
 Serono S.A. (NYSE:   SRA; SWX Swiss Exchange: SEO) has announced a services
 agreement with Evotec OAI, Hamburg, Germany (EVOTEC BioSystems AG, Neuer
 Markt: EVT), a supplier of integrated high-value added biological, chemical
 and screening programs to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
     Under the terms of the agreement, Evotec OAI will develop a novel
 biological assay for one of Serono's cellular targets using its proprietary
 VLiP(TM) technology.  After the successful development of this assay, Evotec
 OAI will perform screening and compound profiling using its EVOscreen(R)
 technology to identify chemical compounds that mimic one of Serono's
 proprietary proteins.  Many of the 200,000 compounds to be tested have been
 synthesized by Evotec OAI for Serono in a separate combinatorial chemistry
 program started in 1998.
     Dr. Timothy Wells, Head of Discovery for Serono, said: "We continue to
 emphasize a strategy of selective partnering to access leading-edge technology
 in our search for new molecules.  This strategic collaboration with Evotec OAI
 has grown since 1998 to now include the complementary technologies of
 combinatorial chemistry, assay development, and high-throughput compound
 screening."
     Dr. Timm Jessen, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec OAI, said: "This new
 collaboration with one of the most prestigious biotechnology companies in the
 world further validates the strategic rationale behind the merger of EVOTEC
 and OAI: providing integrated biology and chemistry services to our customers.
     In addition, this is another example of the high potential of our newly
 developed VLiP(TM) assay technology, which enables the development of
 cell-like assays in a robust biochemical environment."
     Fees for this new service agreement were not disclosed.  The agreement
 includes an option for Serono to negotiate similar services for additional
 targets.
 
     About Serono
     Serono, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, is a global biotechnology
 leader.  The Company has six recombinant products on the market, Gonal-F(R),
 Luveris(R), Ovidrel(R), Rebif(R), Serostim(R) and Saizen(R). In addition to
 being the world leader in reproductive health, Serono has strong market
 positions in neurology, metabolism and growth.  The Company's research
 programs are focused on growing these businesses and on establishing new
 therapeutic areas.  Currently, there are eleven molecules in development.
     In 2000, Serono achieved worldwide revenues of US$1.240 billion, and a net
 income of US$301 million, making it the third largest biotech company in the
 world based on revenues.  The Company operates in 45 countries, and its
 products are sold in over 100 countries.  Bearer shares of Serono S.A., the
 holding company, are traded on the SWX Swiss Exchange (SEO) and its American
 Depositary Shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (SRA).
 
     About Evotec OAI
     Evotec OAI offers the full range of high-value added products and services
 required to discover and develop drugs more effectively and efficiently.  By
 integrating accelerated methods in biology, chemistry and screening, the
 Company has established a unique position as a one-stop-shop for all the
 critical elements in the drug discovery research and development process from
 target to clinical development.  Approximately 500 people are based in
 Hamburg, Germany and Abingdon; U.K. Evotec OAI already has close links with
 many of the leading companies in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology
 industries.  The Company's shares are listed on the Neuer Markt of the
 Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
 
     VLiP(TM) technology
     Evotec OAI has developed the VLiP(TM) technology, a new generic method to
 simplify and improve the precision of tests on transmembrane receptors such as
 GPCRs (G-protein coupled receptors).  This development revolutionizes the
 screening of GPCRs in ultra-high throughput format, the most important target
 class for the pharmaceutical industry.  This new innovative method eliminates
 problems often encountered in studying these receptors, such as inaccuracy and
 lack of reproducible expression, which are common with the use of cellular
 systems in drug discovery research.
     By modifying a natural process, i.e. the release of a virus from a cell,
 Evotec OAI succeeded for the first time in removing small vesicle like
 particles (VLiPs(TM)) of the same size from the cell membrane.  These VLiPs
 carry the receptors in high concentration on their surface.  This approach now
 enables the receptors to be tested in their natural environment, thereby
 significantly reducing the interference of other cell surface proteins with
 the signals.  Because these particles react in a way similar to individual
 molecules, Evotec OAI's own fluorescence technology with its single-molecule
 detection is ideally suited to achieve data with exceptional precision and
 quality.
 
     EVOscreen(R)
     EVOscreen(R) is the world's first fully-operational, automated
 miniaturized system, accurate to one microliter, designed for ultra-high
 throughput screening (uHTS).  EVOscreen(R)'s potential is based on the
 combination of miniaturization, automation and Evotec OAI's proprietary
 single-molecule detection technology for the analysis of target compound
 interactions. The system has the potential for a throughput of 100,000 tests
 per day.  In the process of analyzing minute assay volumes it generates data
 with a high information content and delivers cost savings by significantly
 reducing the consumption of valuable reagents.  With EVOscreen(R), Evotec OAI
 has secured a leading position in the field of ultra high throughput screening
 (uHTS).
 
     Some of the statements in this press release are forward-looking. Such
 statements are inherently subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties
 and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements
 of Serono S.A. and affiliates to be materially different from those expected
 or anticipated in the forward-looking statements.  Forward-looking statements
 are based on Serono's current expectations and assumptions, which may be
 affected by a number of factors, including those discussed below and more
 fully described in Serono's prospectus filed with the U.S. Securities and
 Exchange Commission on July 26, 2000.  These factors include any failure or
 delay in Serono's ability to develop new products, any failure to receive
 anticipated regulatory approvals, any problems in commercializing current
 products as a result of competition or other factors, our ability to obtain
 reimbursement coverage for our products, and government regulations limiting
 our ability to sell our products.  Serono has no responsibility to update the
 forward-looking statements contained in this press release to reflect events
 or circumstances occurring after the date of this press release.
 
     For more information, please contact:
 
     Serono International S.A., Geneva, Switzerland
 
     Media Relations:
     Tel: +41-22-739-36-00
     Fax: +41-22-739-30-85
     http://www.serono.com
 
     Investor Relations:
     Tel: +41-22-739-36-01
     Fax: +41-22-739-30-22
     Reuters: SEOZ.S/SRA.N
     Bloomberg: SEO SW/SRA US
 
     Noonan/Russo Communications:
     Tel: +44-207 726 4452
     Fax: +44-207 726 4453
     http://www.noonanrusso.com
 
     EVOTEC BioSystems AG (Evotec OAI)
     Investor  Relations, Corporate Communications
     Anne Hennecke / email: anne.hennecke@evotecoai.com
     Tel: +49 -40- 560 81 286
     Fax: +49 -40- 560 81 333
     http://www.evotecoai.com
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -- Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X40925197
 
 SOURCE  Serono S.A.