Vedanta Biosciences has received a research grant from CARB-X to support the development of an anti-infective to treat hospital-acquired infections by multi-drug resistant organisms (MDRO).

The company will use the $5.8m grant to develop its preclinical human microbiome-derived candidate, VE707, for oral administration.

VE707 is intended to restore a healthy microbiota and also prevent infection and colonisation recurrence of various MDRO in high-risk patients.

Vedanta Biosciences is developing the drug candidate to remove carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), extended-spectrum beta lactamase producers (ESBL) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) present in the intestine.

Infections caused by CRE, ESBL and VRE are known to occur in more than 500,000 intensive care unit, dialysis, solid organ transplant and haematopoietic stem cell transplant patients in the US and Europe annually.

These infections are estimated to add nearly $2bn to healthcare costs for patient isolation practices.

Vedanta Biosciences CEO Bernat Olle said: “If we could get rid of intestinal carriage of these MDROs in high-risk patients, we could not only prevent infections but also curb the transmission of these organisms and enable physicians to avoid using antibiotics that select for ever-more resistant bacterial strains.”

As well as from the $5.8m grant, the company may receive $3.5m upon achieving certain milestones.

CARB-X executive director Kevin Outterson said: “The addition of Vedanta’s VE707 programme to the CARB-X portfolio expands the rich diversity of our pipeline and reflects a novel approach against drug-resistant infections.

“Innovations such as VE707, if successful and approved for use in patients, could offer physicians broader treatment options that would strengthen a patient’s ability to fight serious infections and limit the spread of drug-resistant bacteria.”

In 2017, CARB-X provided $5.4m to the company for clinical testing of VE303 to treat recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection (rCDI).