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Jun 10, 2011

Biota Gets $2.9M Grant to Investigate Drug for C. difficile Infection

  • Biota Scientific Management has been awarded a five-year $2.9 million grant that will help fund the preclinical development of a lead candidate for the treatment of Clostridium difficile. It will receive $830,287 from the NIH in the first year, and future payments are subject to satisfactory project progress and the availability of funding.

    The C. difficile program was part of the assets acquired from Prolysis in November 2009. As part of the A$10.8 million (about $11.44 million) share-based deal, Biota gained the U.K. company’s existing laboratory facilities and staff in Oxford as well as its multidrug-resistant antibiotic programs. Prolysis shareholders will receive up to a 15% share in all milestone and royalty payments earned by Biota on product commercialization.

    At the time of the acquisition Biota said that it would invest about A$25 million (roughly $26.47 million) into the Prolysis research projects over the next three years. The pipeline includes a lead gyrase program targeting DNA supercoiling in gram-positive bacteria and a cell-division inhibitor program targeting staphylococcal cell division.

    The latter project received a £3.48 million (approximately $5.66 million) award from the U.K.’s Wellcome Trust. This funding agreement will also be transferred to Biota.

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MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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