Roche, Forge Therapeutics Form Pact for Drug-Resistant Antibiotic
Roche has formed a research collaboration and option agreement with Forge Therapeutics, a San Diego-based biopharmaceutical company, under for Forge’s FG-LpxC lung, an antibiotic for treating 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 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 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 $190.5 million in total payments, including potential sales-based payments and royalties upon commercialization of the program.
LpxC, in Forge’s FG-Lpx antibiotic is zinc metalloenzyme, an antibiotic target. It is conserved across Gram-negative bacteria and not found in Gram-positive bacteria or human cells, according to information from Forge Therapeutics. Inhibiting LpxC results in potent killing of Gram-negative bacteria with the benefit of sparing Gram-positive bacteria, such as those residing in the protective microbiome of the gut, help to deter opportunistic C. difficile infections, according to information from the company.
The company says that other LpxC inhibitors have been evaluated in the past but chemistry limitations (e.g. hydroxamic acid) have yielded ineffective compounds that suffer from poor drug-like properties. Forge has developed non-hydroxamate inhibitors of LpxC that are effective in animal models of Gram-negative infection and are able to kill Gram-negative so-called “superbugs,” where other antibiotics are ineffective, according to information from the company.