San Diego, Calif., September 12, 2016 – Forge Therapeutics, Inc. announced the additions of Dr. Brad Spellberg, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Los Angeles County-University of Southern California (LAC+USC) Medical Center, and Dr. Andrew Tomaras, Ph.D, former LpxC program leader from Pfizer, to the company’s Antibiotic Advisory Team, which will guide Forge in the advancement of its lead program into the clinic.
“The addition of Dr. Spellberg and Dr. Tomaras bring significant horsepower to our LpxC program as we embark on the next stage of antibiotic development,” said Zachary A. Zimmerman, Ph.D., CEO of Forge Therapeutics. “Brad and Andrew are experts in the field having undeniable passion toward solving the problem of Gram-negative superbugs.”
“On a regular basis, I see patients with serious infections that are faced with limited effective antibiotic choices,” said Dr. Brad Spellberg, M.D. “Forge has developed an incredibly exciting program and amassed a team of antibiotic experts to execute on its strategy to develop novel chemistry that is highly effective toward Gram-negative bacteria.”
“LpxC is a well-validated antibiotic target, but the primary reason there are no approved drugs is because most previous LpxC programs have suffered from chemistry-based toxicity,” said Dr. Andrew Tomaras, Ph.D. “Forge’s novel chemistry approach appears to be safe, well-tolerated, and has demonstrated preliminary efficacy in an animal infection model with Gram-negative bacteria. Most importantly, these molecules are able to kill Gram-negative superbugs, thus they are critically-needed weapons in the ongoing war against antibiotic resistance.”
Forge Therapeutics Antibiotic Advisory Team:
- Brad Spellberg, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at the LAC+USC Medical Center, leading clinician and researcher for new drug development targeting resistant ‘superbugs’.
- Andrew Tomaras, Ph.D., Vice President and Director of Microbiology at BacterioScan, former Senior Principal Scientist at Pfizer leading LpxC antibacterial preclinical drug development.
- Karen Joy Shaw, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer of Amplyx Pharmaceuticals, former Senior Vice President of Biology at Trius Therapeutics and member of the development team for the antibiotic tedizolid phosphate (SIVEXTRO).
- Michael Barbachyn, Ph.D., Professor, Brummel Chair in Organic Chemistry, Calvin College, former Director Infection Discovery Astra Zeneca, former Director Antibacterial Chemistry Pfizer, and co-inventor of the antibiotic linezolid (ZYVOX).
- Lynn Silver, Ph.D. former Senior Investigator at Merck, discovered first inhibitors of LpxC, and member of the development team for the antibiotic ertapenem (INVANZ).
- Robert Bonomo, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology, Molecular Biology and Microbiology at Case Western Research University; Chief, Medical Service, Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, and expert on Gram-negative ‘superbugs.’
LpxC is conserved across Gram-negative bacteria and not found in Gram-positive bacteria or human cells. Other LpxC inhibitors have been evaluated by biopharma in the past but chemistry limitations (e.g. hydroxamic acid) have yielded ineffective compounds that suffer from poor drug-like properties. Thus, there are no approved therapeutics targeting LpxC. Forge, using its innovative chemistry platform, has developed novel non-hydroxamate inhibitors of LpxC that are safe and effective in an animal model of Gram-negative infection and are able to kill Gram-negative superbugs where other antibiotics are ineffective.
About Forge Therapeutics, Inc.
Forge Therapeutics, Inc. (“Forge”) is a biotechnology start-up that leverages its novel chemistry platform to develop small molecule inhibitors to target metalloproteins. Metalloproteins are proteins that require metal ions for their biological function and make up over 1/3 of the proteins in the human body. Forge uses a proprietary approach comprised of molecular modeling for rational drug design along with fundamental knowledge and expertise in bioinorganic chemistry to target metalloproteins. The name Forge Therapeutics comes from two definitions for forge: to manipulate (inhibit) a metal object (metalloprotein) and to move forward steadily with a purpose (the Forge team). Forge Therapeutics, Inc., maintains its headquarters in San Diego, California. To learn more please visit www.ForgeTherapeutics.com.