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NIAID Awards Funds to Develop Broad-Spectrum Therapeutics

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The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), awarded five-year contracts to four companies to support research with emerging infectious disease and biodefense applications. Total funding for the contracts could total $150 million. The companies will work to develop broad-spectrum therapeutics-antibiotics, antivirals and an antitoxin to prevent or treat diseases caused by multiple types of bacteria or viruses. The aim of the awards is to support research and development of viable broad-spectrum therapeutics for stockpile in the event of a bioterror attack or public health crisis.

As announced by the NIH, the following companies are recipients of the new contracts:

  • CUBRC Inc., Buffalo, NY, in partnership with Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals, Watertown, MA

Researchers will develop a fully synthetic tetracycline product, TP-271, to treat the bacterial disease tularemia, and respiratory infections such as community-acquired bacterial pneumonia. Both intravenous and oral formulations of the drug will be evaluated in preclinical studies for safety and efficacy, and several preliminary 1 clinical trials are planned. The compound will also be tested in nonclinical studies for activity against anthrax and plague. The initial award is for $5.7 million, with the potential for up to $35 million over five years.

  • Enanta Pharmaceuticals Inc., Watertown, MA

Researchers will develop and evaluatea candidate from a novel class of next-generation broad-spectrum antibiotics known as bicyclolides. Bicyclolides are small-molecule anti-infectives. Enanta’s bicyclolide has demonstrated potential for activity against anthrax, plague and tularemia in cell culture studies, as well as efficacy against anthrax and tularemia in mice. The compound will be evaluated for effectiveness against multiple bacteria that might be used as agents of bioterror, and several Phase 1 clinical trials are planned. Bicyclolides represent a promising new class of broad-spectrum antibiotics that have demonstrated activity against the two major groups of bacteria, …

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