The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is providing additional funding of $9.2 million to its existing contract with Enanta Pharmaceuticals to fund preclinical and early clinical development for a new class of bridged bicyclic antibiotics called bicyclolides. This brings total funding from NIAID to date to approximately $23.5 million.

NIAID is funding development of the bicyclolides for use as medical countermeasures against multiple biodefense Category A and B bacteria including anthrax, plague, and tularemia. As part of a multi-year contract that was awarded in 2011, this funding could total approximately $42.7 million if all project milestones are met and if NIAID exercises all its options to fund additional development under the contract.

Enanta says that bicyclolides are very effective against resistant pathogens because of a unique binding site on the bacterial ribosome. In addition to the NIAID contract, Enanta is focused on the potential use of their lead bicyclolide antibiotic candidate EDP-788 for the treatment of infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), and drug-resistant streptococci. All preclinical and early clinical development of EDP-788 is funded under Enanta’s contract with NIAID. Initiation of clinical trials is planned for the first half of 2014.

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