U.K. antibiotics firm Discuva has been awarded a £1.5 million (approximately $1.6 million) Biomedical Catalyst grant from Innovate UK to support the development of targeted antibiotics against Gram-negative, multidrug-resistant (MDR), and life-threatening bacterial infections. The project will exploit Discuva's proprietary SATIN (selective antibiotic target identification) platform to identify antimicrobial targets and drug candidates that will reduce the likelihood of drug resistance.

“This award from Innovate UK allows Discuva to capitalize on the unparalleled genome-wide molecular data that SATIN delivers to fully understand and exploit drug uptake and excretion in bacterial cells,” said David Williams, Discuva CEO. “This information will enable the discovery and development of further novel antimicrobial drugs to combat the antibiotic resistant Gram-negative pathogens that are the cause of life-threatening infections in our healthcare system. Conducting this project will also contribute to an expansion of Discuva's capabilities and further develop its early-stage antimicrobial pipeline.”

Discuva is harnessing its SATIN platform to discover and develop small-molecule antibiotics against major hospital and community-based drug-resistant infections. The platform identifies the molecular targets of hits identified through phenotypic screens, as well as all the potential resistance genes. The firm opened its laboratories in Cambridge, in 2012. During the same year the firm won a £1.62 million ($1.74 million) Biomedical Catalyst grant, and separately received follow-on investment from New Wave Ventures LLP. In 2014 Discuva inked a worldwide multiprogram antibiotics collaboration and license agreement with Roche, which earned the U.K. firm $16 million upfront, and could result in additional payments of $175 million for each product.

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