Evotec´s partner Forge Therapeutics receives prestigious Carb-X research award


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." 


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 worldwide deaths occur each year around the world from these drug-resistant infections, and in the USA 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 a very 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. 


Forge Therapeutics ("Forge") is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company developing novel antibiotics to treat multi-drug resistant bacteria, or 'superbugs', that have ignited a global health epidemic. With its proprietary chemistry approach, Forge develops small molecule inhibitors targeting metalloenzymes. Forge's lead effort is focused on LpxC, a zinc metalloenzyme found only in Gram-negative bacteria and which is essential for bacteria to grow. Forge has discovered novel small molecule inhibitors of LpxC that are potent in vitro, efficacious in vivo, and effective against drug resistant Gram-negative bacteria 'superbugs'. To complement its innovative approach to drug discovery, Forge has an efficient business model that utilises a mix of non-dilutive and traditional funding sources to advance its programs, including LpxC. Due to its expertise in the field, Forge has formed a strategic alliance with the leading drug discovery alliance and development partnership company Evotec AG [Xetra:EVT] and has been awarded multiple government grants to address the global 'superbug' epidemic. In addition, Forge has amassed a rich intellectual property estate on metalloprotein inhibitors to protect its technology and pipeline. Forge maintains its headquarters in San Diego, California. To learn more please visit www.ForgeTherapeutics.com and follow us on Twitter @ForgeThera. 


CARB-X is the world's largest public-private partnership devoted to antibacterial pre-clinical R&D. Funded by BARDA and Wellcome Trust, with in-kind support from NIAID, we will spend $450 million from 2017-2021 to support innovative products moving towards human clinical trials. CARB-X focuses on high priority drug-resistant bacteria, especially Gram-negatives. CARB-X is a charitable global public-private partnership led by Boston University School of Law. Other partners include the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, MassBio, the California Life Sciences Institute and RTI International. For more information, please visit www.carb-x.org and follow us on Twitter @CARB_X.  


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.