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GEN News Highlights : Jan 7, 2008

NIAID Bestows Grant on Optimer for Advancement of Antibiotic Targeted at C. difficile

$1 million grant is renewable over three years and ultimately could be worth $3 million.

Optimer Pharmaceuticals was awarded a $1 million annual federal grant from the NIAID that will be applied to the late-stage development of OPT-80 to treat Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD). The award is renewable each year until August 2010.

OPT-80 is a narrow-spectrum antibiotic, explains Tessie M. Che, Ph.D., COO and svp, corporate affairs. It is unlike the current FDA-approved treatment, according to Dr. Che, because it kills C. difficile as opposed to simply inhibiting bacteria growth. OPT-80 has shown selective activity against C. difficile while leaving the healthy intestinal flora intact, Dr. Che adds. “This selective activity, while eliminating the infection, may preserve the natural balance of flora in the GI tract.

“The award of this grant from the NIH validates the technical and commercial merit of our OPT-80 program,” Dr. Che points out.