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Evotec and Harvard University to Collaborate on Development of New Class of Antibacterials

Published: Thursday, May 16, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, May 16, 2013
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Target PGB (peptidoglycan biosynthesis) is the focus of collaboration.

Evotec AG announced a research collaboration with Harvard University aimed at discovering and developing novel anti-bacterial agents based on a highly validated target family involved in bacterial cell wall biosynthesis.

Under the Agreement, researchers at Harvard and Evotec will collaboratively identify and optimize small molecule inhibitors of bacterial cell wall synthesis, based on enabling technologies and chemical starting points licensed from Harvard. Using its comprehensive drug discovery infrastructure and expertise in addressing anti-bacterial targets, Evotec will specifically target peptidoglycan biosynthesis (PGB). The approach leverages promising chemical starting points, biological and structure-guided techniques allied with extensive medicinal chemistry expertise. The commercialisation of the resulting assets will be through Evotec.

“We are pleased to have entered into this collaboration with Harvard in the antibacterial space”, said Dr Werner Lanthaler, CEO of Evotec. “The lack of new antibacterials has been broadly recognised as a major unmet medical need as antibiotics pipelines are drying up while resistance against existing drugs is on the rise. We are excited to team up with our colleagues at Harvard to systematically target a highly validated but under-exploited anti-bacterial target family.”

Dr Vivian Berlin, Director Business Development in Harvard’s Office of Technology Development, added: “Target PGB builds on  research at Harvard on bacterial cell wall biosynthesis, which is at the perfect stage of development to partner with Evotec. Our goal in collaborating with Evotec is to accelerate the research and advance the project toward the clinic. This collaboration benefits from our aligned vision, complementary skills and the strong relationship we have built with Evotec in our other ongoing collaborations.

Exploiting proprietary assays, chemical starting points, and x-ray crystallographic tools from Harvard, the collaboration paves the way to develop novel antibacterial agents targeting PGB. The collaboration leverages the longstanding research of Daniel Kahne and Suzanne Walker, Professors in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and in the Departments of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology and Microbiology and Immunobiology, respectively, and Evotec’s experience in the antibacterial space.
“We are pleased to combine forces with Evotec to exploit our knowledge of bacterial cell wall and in particular peptidoglycan biosynthesis for antibacterial drug discovery” said Prof Daniel Kahne. “We are confident this collaboration will put us in a strong position to translate the science and develop a new class of antibiotics against this well conserved target.”

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