San Diego, Calif., December 9, 2016 – Forge Therapeutics, Inc. today announced a strategic alliance with Evotec AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) to advance its novel Gram-negative antibiotic program targeting ‘LpxC’ for the treatment of bacterial infections including those caused by drug resistant ‘superbugs’. LpxC has been recognized as an attractive antibacterial target for more than the past 15 years; however, a lack of suitable chemical starting points has hampered its progress. Forge has been applying its proprietary metal-binding pharmacophores (“MBP”) library and processes and has been able to identify potent druggable inhibitors of LpxC.
The alliance will be focused on lead optimization of these inhibitors with the goal of identifying a development candidate in the next couple of years. Evotec will, through a team of more than 10 scientists, contribute cutting-edge biochemistry, microbiology, medicinal chemistry, structural biology, computational chemistry, ADME/PK/analytical, and program management.
“Antibacterials that act via novel mechanisms of action are desperately needed to address untreatable infections that arise from drug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria,” said Zachary A. Zimmerman, Ph.D., CEO of Forge Therapeutics. “Our LpxC inhibitors have proven to be stable, potent in vitro, and shown preliminary efficacy in vivo. We are thrilled to partner with Evotec during lead optimization as they provide significant pre-clinical expertise and added horsepower to rapidly advance our novel antibiotic to address this growing unmet global issue.”
“The antibiotic field has been suffering from an innovation void over the last 30 years and requires significant intellectual and financial stimulus to address the issues of resistance”, said Dr Mario Polywka, Chief Operating Officer of Evotec. “Importantly, Forge’s novel LpxC program coupled with Evotec’s unrivalled drug discovery platform and expertise offers significant promise in addressing this issue. We look forward to working with our new partners at Forge.”
LpxC 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 innovative 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 Evotec AG
Evotec is a drug discovery alliance and development partnership company focused on rapidly progressing innovative product approaches with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academics, patient advocacy groups and venture capitalists. We operate worldwide providing the highest quality stand-alone and integrated drug discovery solutions, covering all activities from target-to-clinic to meet the industry’s need for innovation and efficiency in drug discovery (EVT Execute). The Company has established a unique position by assembling top-class scientific experts and integrating state-of-the-art technologies as well as substantial experience and expertise in key therapeutic areas including neuroscience, diabetes and complications of diabetes, pain and inflammation, oncology and infectious diseases. On this basis, Evotec has built a broad and deep pipeline of more than 70 partnered product opportunities at clinical, pre-clinical and discovery stages (EVT Innovate). Evotec has established multiple long-term discovery alliances with partners including Bayer, CHDI, Sanofi or UCB and development partnerships with e.g. Janssen Pharmaceuticals in the field of Alzheimer’s disease, with Sanofi in the field of diabetes and with Pfizer in the field of tissue fibrosis. For additional information please go to www.evotec.com.
About Forge Therapeutics, Inc.
Forge Therapeutics, Inc. (“Forge”) is a biotechnology start-up that leverages its novel chemistry platform to develop small molecule inhibitors to target metalloproteins. Metalloproteins are proteins that require metal ions for their biological function and make up over 1/3 of the proteins in the human body. Forge uses a proprietary approach comprised of molecular modeling for rational drug design along with fundamental knowledge and expertise in bioinorganic chemistry to target metalloproteins. The name Forge Therapeutics comes from two definitions for forge: to manipulate (inhibit) a metal object (metalloprotein) and to move forward steadily with a purpose (the Forge team). Forge Therapeutics, Inc., maintains its headquarters in San Diego, California. To learn more please visit www.ForgeTherapeutics.com.