Abdul Latif Jameel Health and Evelo agreement
Top officials at Abdul Latif Jameel Health and Evelo sign the agreement for development and commercialisation of the inflammation drug candidate. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Saudi headquartered Abdul Latif Jameel Health has struck a partnership with US’ Evelo Biosciences to ‘develop and commercialise’ the latter’s inflammation product in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa.

The product candidate - 'EDP1815' - could also have its use as a therapeutic medicine for COVID-19. EDP1815 is an "investigational oral medicine" and Evelo is conducting a Phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of psoriasis, as well as two trials in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Evelo recently reported positive Phase 1b data in treating atopic dermatitis.

Data from Phase 1b clinical trials of EDP1815 suggests its "potential to be a safe, efficacious, oral, affordable, and room-temperature stable medicine that may be useful to treat patients worldwide at all stages of inflammatory disease".

A diversified Saudi entity
A family-owned business, Abdul Latif Jameel has interests in automotive, engineering and manufacturing, financial services, health and real estate among others. It currently has a presence in more than 30 countries and employs more than 11,000 people of over 40 nationalities.

Direct equity

Under the terms of the agreement, Evelo received an upfront payment and equity investment. Evelo will be responsible for the development and manufacturing of EDP1815, whilst Abdul Latif Jameel Health will be responsible for regulatory submissions and commercialization activities in the agreed-upon regions.

Evelo and Abdul Latif Jameel Health will participate in a 50:50 profit share arrangement.

Ease access to treatment
The availability of selected medicines is as low as 21% in the public sector and 22% in the private sector for some sub-Saharan African countries.

With the population of the Middle East and North Africa at over 456 million, only an average of 61% of the
population in the Arab region can easily access health services. But this rate varies significantly between countries.

Emerging market focus

Evelo and Abdul Latif Jameel Health will work to "address the significant disparity in access to medical care in the fastest-growing populations and growth economies of the developing world," they said in a statement.

Evelo is Abdul Latif Jameel Health’s first biotechnology collaborator to create affordable medicines. The Saudi entity will provide the "critical resources needed to help realize this vision".

“We look forward to collaborating with Evelo to bring medicines to millions of people in the developing world,” said Akram Bouchenaki, CEO of Abdul Latif Jameel Health. “Evelo’s influential work in inflammatory diseases reaffirms that Evelo is the right collaborator with whom to launch and rapidly grow our healthcare presence in some of the fastest-growing regions in the world.”

Evelo's pipeline
Evelo currently has four product candidates in development: EDP1815, EDP1867, and EDP2939 for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. And EDP1908 for the treatment of cancer.

“I have had the privilege to work with Akram Bouchenaki, CEO of Abdul Latif Jameel Health, for more than 20 years," said Simba Gill, CEO of Evelo. "He has deep experience building and developing successful businesses in this region, dating back to his tenure with Gilead."