Chester County-based Pharmaceutical Company Awarded up to $44.2 Million to Advance Novel Inhibitors

Venatorx Pharmaceuticals

MALVERN, PA — Venatorx Pharmaceuticals announced recently that it has been awarded a contract by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to advance a novel series of Penicillin Binding Protein (PBP) Inhibitors targeting multi-drug resistant (MDR) Acinetobacter baumannii through Phase 1 clinical testing.

Under Contract No. 75N93020C00016, the total estimated cost of the base period for this contract is approximately $3.2 million. Venatorx has the potential to receive funding of up to $44.2 million, if all project milestones are met.

A. baumannii is ranked as a “Priority 1: Critical” carbapenem resistant pathogen on the World Health Organization’s list of bacteria for which new antibiotics are urgently needed. A. baumannii is primarily associated with hospital-acquired infections and has become resistant to a large number of antibiotics, including carbapenems and third-generation cephalosporins – the best-known available antibiotics for treating MDR bacteria.

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Venatorx is developing a novel class of non-beta-lactam molecules that kill bacteria by the same selective mechanism as beta-lactams — blocking cell wall synthesis via binding to the bacterial PBPs. Chemically distinct from the beta-lactams, these new molecules have been designed to be impervious to degradation by beta-lactamases.

“We would like to thank NIAID for their steadfast support and guidance as we continue to work every day to achieve our mission of bringing life-saving, anti-infective medicines to patients around the globe,” said Christopher J. Burns, Ph.D., President and CEO of Venatorx.

“By circumventing over 70 years of beta-lactamase-driven resistance, this new class of PBP Inhibitors has the potential to usher in a new wave of antibacterial therapeutics and set the clock back on antibacterial resistance. We look forward to partnering with NIAID to advance this series through Phase 1.”

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