Evotec is teaming up with Harvard University to discover and develop novel antibacterial agents based on a target family involved in bacterial cell wall biosynthesis that reportedly are highly validated.

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 drug discovery infrastructure and expertise in addressing antibacterial targets, Evotec will specifically target peptidoglycan biosynthesis (PGB). The approach, the firm says, leverages promising chemical starting points, biological and structure-guided techniques, allied with extensive medicinal chemistry expertise. The commercialization of the resulting assets will be through Evotec.

The collaboration leverages the 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.

“Target PGB builds on research at Harvard on bacterial cell wall biosynthesis, which is at the perfect stage of development to partner with Evotec,” Vivian Berlin, Ph.D., director, business development in Harvard’s Office of Technology Development, added. “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.”

Those other collaborations include a beta cell regeneration alliance, CureBeta, which they initiated in March 2011 with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and one made in January of 2012 that also included Brigham and Women’s Hospital focused on the discovery and development of biomarkers and treatments for kidney disease—the CureNephron project.

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