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Forge Enters Into Collaboration With Roche To Develop Novel Antibiotic To Treat Lung Infections

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Forge Therapeutics, Inc. (Forge) announced  that they have entered into a research collaboration and option agreement with Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. (Roche) to license FG-LpxC LUNG, a novel antibiotic for the treatment of serious lung infections attributed to antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacteria including Pseudomonas aeruginosa.  The FG-LpxC LUNG program is being developed to treat hospital-based infections, including those cited on the CDC's most urgent threats list, which commonly occur in people with weakened immune systems and chronic lung diseases.  

Under the terms of the agreement, Roche has an exclusive option to license the FG-LpxC LUNG program from Forge.  Forge will retain control of the program prior to Roche exercising its option, at which time Roche will take over the further development.  Forge is eligible to receive up to $190.5M in total payments, including potential sales-based payments and royalties upon commercialization of the program.

"Antibiotic-resistance remains an increasing threat to global human health and we are extremely pleased to partner with Roche to accelerate our FG-LpxC LUNG program toward the clinic," said Zachary A. Zimmerman, Ph.D., CEO of Forge.  "We look forward to combining our novel approach and innovative chemistry with Roche's proven drug development and commercialization expertise to provide a truly new class of antibiotic for people suffering from serious antibiotic-resistant infections."

James Sabry, Head of Roche Pharma Partnering commented, "We are excited to work together with Forge to develop truly innovative antibiotics. This new collaboration demonstrates our strong commitment to combat the urgent global health threat of drug-resistant bacterial infections with novel life-saving treatments that have the potential to make a difference in patients' lives."

For over 30 years, biopharma has been unsuccessful in developing LpxC inhibitors, with the majority of programs suffering from a lack of suitable chemistry.  While most LpxC efforts utilize hydroxamic acid as the compound's metal binding pharmacophore (MBP), the Forge platform is built on a proprietary library of hundreds of non-hydroxamate MBPs to serve as selective starting points for inhibitor development.  Utilizing an innovative process that combines fragment- & structure-based drug discovery, the FG-LpxC LUNG program has rationally designed potent and efficacious non-hydroxamate inhibitors of LpxC.  Built on a completely novel and differentiated chemical scaffold, FG-LpxC LUNG is being optimized for the treatment of serious lung infections.  Forge was awarded non-dilutive funding in January 2019 from CARB-X, a global non-profit partnership dedicated to funding and supporting antibacterial research, to support development of its FG-LpxC LUNG program.

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