Sanofi and Evotec have announced plans to work together on the development of new therapies that might reduce or eliminate the need for diabetes patients to have insulin injections.

The companies, which are already closely interlinked, are embarking on a project to develop new approaches based on the modulation of beta cells, the function of which is affected in both diabetes type I and II.

A key goal of the alliance is a beta cell replacement therapy based human stem cells, and the partners also plan on using beta cells for high-throughput drug screening to identify novel small molecule or biologic approaches.

Under the deal, Evotec is entitled to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments, which could total more than 300 million Euros, as well as royalties on net sales of any products that make it to market.

Earlier this year the firms announced a 250 million-Euro strategic alliance under which Evotec gained Sanofi’s troubled operations in Toulouse, France, and agreed to provide a broad range of long-term drug discovery services to the French drugs giant until 2020.