San Diego, California, January 3, 2019 –
Forge Therapeutics, Inc. (Forge), a biotechnology company developing novel medicines targeting metalloenzymes, announced today that it has received a second CARB-X award for developing a novel antibacterial therapeutic agent. This second award will support the development of a new class of LpxC inhibitors to treat serious lung infections attributed to Gram-negative bacteria, including multi-drug resistant P. aeruginosa. The award commits initial funding up to $5.7M to Forge with the possibility of up to another $5.4M based on the achievement of technical milestones.
“We are gratified to receive this opportunity to expand our collaboration with CARB-X. This second award allows us to evaluate an entirely new class of LpxC inhibitors against drug-resistant superbug infections present in the lung,” said Zachary A. Zimmerman, Ph.D., CEO of Forge. “We look forward to advancing our portfolio of novel antibiotics with continued CARB-X support.”
“The world urgently needs new classes of antibiotics, like those that Forge is developing, as well as other life-saving products to prevent, diagnose and treat deadly infections,” said Kevin Outterson, Executive Director of CARB-X and Boston University law professor. “Forge’s LpxC inhibitor project represents an exciting new approach to treating life-threatening infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria. The projects in the Powered by CARB-X portfolio are in the early stages of development, but if successful, they offer tremendous potential in the global fight against superbugs.”
CARB-X is the world’s largest public-private partnership accelerating early development antibacterial research and development. CARB-X is investing more than $500M to support innovative antibiotics and other life-saving antibacterial products and is supported by its partners around the globe including BARDA, NIH, Wellcome Trust, California Life Science Institute, RTI, Mass Biotech Council, Boston University, and most recently, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK government.
About LpxC and the ‘Superbug’ Epidemic
Millions of people around the globe have become infected with bacteria that are resistant to current antibiotic treatments, or ‘superbugs’, creating a global health epidemic. An estimated 700,000 deaths occur each year worldwide from these drug-resistant infections, and in the U.S. alone, an estimated 23,000 people die each year from antibiotic-resistant infections. The biotechnology industry, leading government agencies and world leaders agree that the need for new antibiotics is urgent.
LpxC is an attractive and highly sought-after antibiotic target – it is conserved across Gram-negative bacteria and not found in Gram-positive bacteria or human cells. Other LpxC inhibitors have been evaluated by biopharma in the past but chemistry limitations (e.g. hydroxamic acid) have yielded ineffective compounds that suffer from poor drug-like properties. Thus, there are no approved therapeutics targeting LpxC. Forge, using its proprietary chemistry platform, has developed novel non-hydroxamate inhibitors of LpxC that are safe and effective in an animal model of Gram-negative infection and are able to kill Gram-negative ‘superbugs’ where other antibiotics are ineffective.
About CARB-X (Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator)
and devices. CARB-X has the world’s largest and most innovative pipeline of preclinical products against high-priority drug-resistant bacteria, especially Gram-negatives. CARB-X is funded by US Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), the Wellcome Trust, a global charity based in the UK working to improve health globally, the UK Department of Health and Social Care’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund (UK GAMRIF), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with in-kind support from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). CARB-X is based at Boston University in the School of Law. Other partners include RTI International, MassBio, and the California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI). https://carb-x.org/
About Forge Therapeutics
At Forge Therapeutics, we are developing medicines targeting metal-dependent enzymes found in nature. Over 30% of known enzymes are metalloenzymes, covering all major enzyme classes: oxidoreductases, transferases, hydrolases, lyases, isomerases, and ligases. Metal ions, including magnesium, zinc, iron, manganese and copper are the essential ingredient in these metalloenzymes. At Forge, we are the BLACKSMITHS of modern medicine, providing the tools to address any metalloenzyme challenge.
Forge’s lead effort is focused on LpxC, a zinc metalloenzyme found only in Gram-negative bacteria, which is essential for bacteria to grow. Forge has a strategic drug discovery alliance with Evotec AG and has been awarded multiple government awards including CARB-X. In addition, Forge has amassed a rich intellectual property estate on metalloenzyme-targeted inhibitors to protect its BLACKSMITH platform and pipeline including technology licensed from UCSD. For furtherinformation, please visit the company’s website www.ForgeTherapeutics.com and follow us on Twitter @ForgeThera.
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