Switzerland-based Basilea Pharmaceutica has received a $0.9m grant from the global non-profit, Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X), to develop a new antibiotic.

The grant will fund the preclinical development of an antibiotic candidate until the candidate’s nomination, which is expected in H2 this year.

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Basilea added that the company may receive additional funding from CARB-X for further preclinical and early clinical development, contingent on certain undisclosed project milestones.

The antibiotic programme that received funding was developed using the Spexis’ outer membrane protein targeting antibiotics (OMPTA) technology, which Basilea acquired in January.

The OMPTA class of antibiotics binds dually to lipopolysaccharide and outer-membrane proteins. These proteins provide structural integrity and a permeability barrier to protect the gram-negative bacterial cell. Therefore, any disruption in the function of these proteins can cause the bacteria to die.

The CARB-X’s funding is provided through the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)’s antibacterial branch.

Basilea has previously received funds from the US Government to develop its portfolio of antibacterials and antifungals. The company’s recently approved antibiotic Zevtera (ceftobiprole) was developed through subsidised funding from BARDA.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has become a growing issue in recent years, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring it one of the top global public health and development threats. The US bacterial infection market is expected to be worth $4.1bn by 2024, according to GlobalData.

GlobalData is the parent company of Pharmaceutical Technology.

In light of the growing demand, there has been an increased interest in developing new therapies to combat this issue. In September 2023, Novo Holdings acquired Boston-based Paratek Pharmaceuticals to bolster its AMR expertise. Paratek’s portfolio consisted of Nuzyra (omadacycline), a marketed once-a-day oral and intravenous antibiotic indicated for acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections (ABSSSI) and community-acquired bacterial pneumonia (CABP).

Another antibiotic currently in development is Roche’s zosurabalpin. It is classified under a new antibiotic class of drugs called tethered macrocyclic peptides. Zosurabalpin targets the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) transport systems, which is important for maintaining bacterial cell structure among other functions.

Early R&D project coverage on Pharmaceutical Technology is supported by Mimotopes.

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