Evotec and Forge Therapeutics form strategic 'superbug' alliance


  • Combination of leading innovative chemistry efforts with cutting-edge anti-infective drug discovery platform


Hamburg, Germany, 09 December 2016: Evotec AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) today announced a strategic alliance with Forge Therapeutics, Inc. ("Forge") to advance its novel Gram-negative antibiotic programme targeting 'LpxC' for the treatment of bacterial infections including those caused by drug resistant 'superbugs'. LpxC has been recognised 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 drugable inhibitors of LpxC.

The alliance will be focused on lead optimisation 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 programme 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 have shown preliminary efficacy in vivo. We are thrilled to partner with Evotec during lead optimisation 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 programme 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.


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 modelling 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.

Contact: Info@ForgeTherapeutics.com


Information set forth in this press release contains forward-looking statements, which involve a number of risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent the judgement of Evotec as of the date of this press release. Such forward-looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, and which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements. We expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any such statements to reflect any change in our expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.