Entasis Therapeutics has been awarded up to $6.3 million from CARB-X (Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Accelerator) to support the development of its preclinical-stage oral drug candidate for treating multi-drug-resistant (MDR) Gram-negative infections, including carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE).

CARB-X is a public-private partnership launched in August 2016 to support the development of preclinical programs targeting drug-resistant infections. Established and funded by BARDA, the NIH's NIAID and the U.K.’s Wellcome Trust, CARB-X has a $450 million pot of funds to use over five years.

Entasis CEO Manos Perros said, “We feel privileged to be working with CARB-X to bring our oral, Gram-negative program to the clinic. This partnership will provide key resources to accelerate development of our program, helping us fulfill our commitment of bringing innovative cures to patients suffering from serious bacterial infections. The Entasis research team has done an incredible job on this latest program, making it the third, along with our two other programs already in clinical trials, to originate from our innovative discovery platform.”

“The lack of orally available treatment options for drug-resistant Gram-negative infections creates a significant and urgent medical need,” added John Mueller, Ph.D., chief development officer of Entasis and principal investigator for the partnership with CARB-X. “Too many patients are admitted to the hospital for treatment with IV drugs, increasing the cost of care and contributing to the spread of drug-resistant infections. Our agent has the potential to address this unmet need by providing physicians with a new outpatient treatment option.”

Entasis was spun out of AstraZeneca in 2015 to develop an early-stage anti-infectives pipeline, including ETX0914 (formerly AZD0914), an oral antibiotic for treating uncomplicated gonorrhea. Positive data from a Phase II study comparing ETX0914 with ceftriaxone therapy in patients with uncomplicated gonorrhea were reported in September 2016. The drug has been designated a Qualified Infectious Disease Product (QIDP) by the FDA and awarded Fast Track status.

The Entasis clinical pipeline also includes ETX2514, a broad-spectrum inhibitor of class A, C, and D beta-lactamases, which is in development against Acinetobacter baumannii infections. A Phase I study in healthy volunteers was initiated in October 2016.

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