Drug Research
Drug Discovery & Development

VenatoRx secures $9.4m to develop new class of antibiotic fro multi-drug resistant bacteria

Published 27 July 2017

VenatoRx Pharmaceuticals, which focuses on discovery and development of novel therapies for highly drug resistant bacterial infections, has been awarded up to $9.4m from CARB-X (Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Accelerator).

The funding will be used to support discovery and preclinical development of a new class of antibiotic that circumvents β-lactam antibiotic resistance, but with the same safe and effective mechanism of action of β-lactams.

CARB-X was launched in July 2016 to address the gap in antibiotic research and development and innovations to improve diagnosis and treatment of drug-resistant infections. The G20 has called for global antibiotic R&D efforts like CARB-X to refill the pipeline with safe and effective drugs.

CARB-X is a partnership between UK charity Wellcome Trust and the US Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

“We are honored to be selected by CARB-X for this award,” said Christopher Burns, Ph.D, Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of VenatoRx. “Bacterial drug resistance is already a significant global health threat. These funds will enable our scientists to continue making progress in developing a new class of antibiotics that inhibits bacterial cell wall synthesis and completely circumvents current modes of β-lactam antibiotic resistance.” The award commits funding of up to $3.4 million in the initial investment stage, with the possibility of up to $6.0 million more based on successful progression through milestones set by VenatoRx and CARB-X.

Kevin Outterson, Executive Director of CARB-X and Professor of Law at Boston University said: “Drug-resistant infections are complex and developing new antibiotics challenging, timely and costly. But restoring the R&D pipeline is vital to address the seriously increasing threat of superbugs which have become resistant to existing drugs. This is a global problem and CARB-X is a critical part of the global solution. We are looking to support the best potential new treatments and diagnostics across the world. We are especially pleased that today’s awards mean we are now supporting scientists in 6 countries. The projects offer exciting potential. But we need greater global support from governments, industry and civil society to get the new treatments the world urgently needs.”

Tim Jinks, Head of Drug-Resistant Infections at Wellcome said: “Antibiotics are fundamental to modern medicine but overuse and inappropriate use have led to dangerous bacteria developing deadly resistance. Wellcome is committed to helping ensure we get the urgently needed new treatments. Drug discovery must also go hand-in-hand with concerted action to ensure antibiotics of last resort are reserved for patients where first-line treatments will not work. And we must ensure these treatments can be made available in all countries for those who need them.”

This latest funding is part of an overall commitment of up to US$455 million by the US government and Wellcome over a five year period. VenatoRx is one of 7 companies in six countries in CARB-X’s second round of funding this year. This follows the announcement in March 2017 of another 11 projects to receive funding.

Source: Company Press Release