Hamburg, Germany - 31 March 2017: Evotec AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) today announced that its partner Forge Therapeutics ("Forge") has received a research award from CARB-X (Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria) of $ 8.8 m to advance its novel Gram-negative antibiotic programme targeting LpxC for the treatment of bacterial infections. Forge will receive an initial award of $ 4.8 m over 15 months and potentially up to $ 4.0 m from CARB-X after that period upon achievement of certain milestones.
CARB-X, launched in August 2016, is one of the world's largest public-private partnerships focused on pre-clinical discovery and development of new antimicrobial products. CARB-X was established by BARDA and NIAID of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services along with the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. This partnership has committed up to $ 450 m over the next five years to increase the number of antibacterial products in the drug development pipeline. It reflects a new approach to how antibacterial research and drug development is identified, funded and accelerated to the clinic.
In December 2016, Evotec entered into a strategic alliance with Forge to accelerate its LpxC targeting antibiotic. The alliance focuses on lead optimisation of LpxC inhibitors with the goal of identifying a development candidate in the next couple of years.
"Forge's LpxC-inhibitor is an extremely important programme to us", said Dr Mario Polywka, Chief Operating Officer of Evotec. "The fact that CARB-X selected Forge as one of its first partners aligns with our assessment of the company's innovative technology and capabilities to advance this programme into the clinic and provide a much-needed new option against multi-drug resistant bacteria. We look forward to working with the Forge team in this important scientific endeavour."
"The need for new antibiotics to solve the drug resistance epidemic is beyond urgent - resistant bacteria are clearly plentiful, but unfortunately, novel drugs are extremely rare. In partnership with Evotec, whose participation was key to our CARB-X application, we are tackling this global health issue from all sides - government, industry, charities - with the shared goal of reducing the worldwide death toll from 'superbug' bacterial infections", said Zachary A. Zimmerman, Ph.D., CEO of Forge Therapeutics. "Because of this, we at Forge feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to advance our LpxC antibiotic programme into the clinic as quickly as possible and we are thankful to CARB-X for their support of our efforts. In the next few years, we expect to advance the programme to IND/Phase I, which could yield the first novel Gram-negative antibiotic in decades."