Evotec shares jump as Aptuit deal boosts contract research

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Shares in Evotec EVTG.DE jumped on Monday after the German biotech firm struck a deal to acquire U.S. company Aptuit for $300 million to expand its outsourced drug discovery and development business.

The shares gained 3.3 percent at 0849 GMT on Monday to 12.12 euros, giving Evotec a market value of about 1.77 billion euros ($2.08 billion).

Evotec stock has gained more than 75 percent since February, when Denmark's Novo Holding AS, which controls drugmaker Novo Nordisk NOVOb.CO and enzymes specialist Novozymes NZYMb.CO, backed a 90 million euro capital increase.

The deal will bolster Evotec’s existing contract research services and support the regulatory approval process as well as the manufacturing of experimental compounds for testing on patients.

“We believe these capabilities will allow (Evotec) to stay involved beyond the pre-clinical stage of development and possibly retain greater royalties from its partners, although this is difficult to quantify at this stage,” said Berenberg analyst Klara Fernandes.

Evotec also has its own drug candidates in the early to mid-stages of development, working together and sharing the rights with drugmakers such as Roche ROG.S, J&J JNJ.N and China's Jingxin Pharm.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger, editing by Louise Heavens