HAMBURG, Germany and CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 16, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Evotec AG (Frankfurt:EVT) (TecDAX) (ISIN:DE0005664809) today 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." ABOUT EVOTEC AG Evotec is a drug discovery alliance and development partnership company focused on rapidly progressing innovative product approaches with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. We operate worldwide providing the highest quality stand-alone and integrated drug discovery solutions, covering all activities from target-to-clinic. The Company has established a unique position by assembling top-class scientific experts and integrating state-of-the-art technologies as well as substantial experience and expertise in key therapeutic areas including neuroscience, pain, metabolic diseases as well as oncology and inflammation. Evotec has long-term discovery alliances with partners including Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, CHDI, Genentech, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, MedImmune/AstraZeneca and Ono Pharmaceutical. In addition, the Company has existing development partnerships and product candidates both in clinical and pre-clinical development. These include partnerships with Boehringer Ingelheim, MedImmune and Andromeda (Teva) in the field of diabetes, with Janssen Pharmaceuticals in the field of depression and with Roche in the field of Alzheimer's disease. For additional information please go to www.evotec.com . About Harvard University's Office of Technology Development Harvard's Office of Technology Development (OTD) is responsible for all activities pertaining to the evaluation, patenting and licensing of new inventions and discoveries made at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School. OTD also serves to further the development of Harvard technologies through the establishment of sponsored research collaborations with industry. OTD's mission is to promote the public good by fostering innovation and translating new inventions made at Harvard into useful products available and beneficial to society.