Evotec and Harvard to develop new class of antibacterials

By targeting peptidoglycan biosynthesis

Evotec is to collaborate with Harvard University on the development of novel anti-bacterial agents based on a highly validated target family involved in bacterial cell wall biosynthesis.

Under the agreement, researchers at Evotec and Harvard will identify small molecule inhibitors of bacterial cell wall synthesis, based on technologies and chemical starting points licensed from Harvard. Using its drug discovery infrastructure and expertise in addressing anti-bacterial targets, Evotec will target peptidoglycan biosynthesis (PGB). The approach is said to leverage promising chemical starting points, biological and structure-guided techniques allied with extensive medicinal chemistry expertise. Evotec will commercialise the resulting assets.

‘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,’ said Werner Lanthaler, CEO of Evotec. ‘We are excited to team up with our colleagues at Harvard to systematically target a highly validated but under-exploited anti-bacterial target family.’

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.’