(Genetic Chemistry Inc. (Palo Alto, USA), a subsidiary of Evolva SA (Basel, Switzerland) announced today that it has signed a contract with the US Army Research Office (ARO), working in conjunction with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), to discover novel therapeutics against the gram negative bacterial pathogen Burkholderia pseudomallei (a CDC category B bioterrorism agent that causes the disease melioidosis).
Over the contract period funding could amount to $22.8 million. Under the contract Genetic Chemistry Inc (GCI) will use Evolva's genetic chemistry technologies to create and optimise compounds that inhibit various B. pseudomallei targets and pathways, as well as the pathogen itself.
GCI will conduct this program in collaboration with the UK's Defence Science & Technology Laboratory, the University of Exeter and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Melya Hughes Crameri, CEO of Genetic Chemistry Inc. said:
"Genetic Chemistry is well positioned to leverage Evolva's genetic chemistry technologies for the discovery and development of novel small molecule therapeutics. In meeting the needs of ARO, the project will build a pipeline of compounds against B. pseudomallei (which as well as being a potential bioterrorism agent is an important pathogen in S.E. Asia). DSTL, Exeter and LANL are providing invaluable knowledge of relevant targets and disease biology".
Pascal Longchamp, VP Business Development of Evolva, said: "The ARO contract shows the applicability of our genetic chemistry technologies to a further therapeutic area. The compounds we create may well have utility against other bacterial pathogens. The addition of US research operations will play a crucial role in the further development of Evolva and synergizes with our global biotech model."
About the Army Research Office
The U.S. Army Research Laboratory's Army Research Office (ARO) mission is to serve as the Army's premier extramural basic research agency in the engineering, physical, information and life sciences.
For further information see www.aro.army.mil.
About the Defense Threat Reduction Agency
The mission of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency is to safeguard the United States and its allies from weapons of mass destruction (WMD) (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosives or CBRNE) by providing capabilities to reduce, eliminate and counter the threat and mitigate its effects.