MGB Biopharma, which specializes in developing anti-infectives, said today it has been awarded a conditional grant of £1.3 million (about $2.2 million) from the Technology Strategy Board, the U.K.’s innovation agency, under its Biomedical Catalyst program.

The company said the grant will help fund a Phase I trial of the oral formulation of its lead drug candidate, MGB-BP-3 for Clostridium difficile. About 40 subjects are expected to be enrolled into the single-center, double-blind, placebo controlled, crossover Phase I trial to determine the safety and tolerability of single ascending doses of oral MGB-BP-3.

“The oral formulation of MGB-BP-3 has shown promising efficacy and good safety results in preclinical tests in C. diff. This grant, along with the funds we are looking to raise, should allow us to start this first-in-man trial by the end of 2014 or start of 2015,” MGB Biopharma CEO Miroslav Ravic, M.D., Ph.D., said in a statement.

“There is still a clear need for truly novel and differentiated products to tackle the growing concern of antimicrobial resistance. We believe that MGB-BP-3’s novel mechanism could, for the first time in a decade, provide a meaningful breakthrough in the development of antimicrobials for hospital-acquired infections in particular,” Dr. Ravic added.

MGB-BP-3 is based on DNA minor groove binders (MGBs), whose mode of action is designed to offer significant advantages over existing anti-infectives, such as being more bactericidal and active against a broad range of drug-resistant bacteria. MGB Biopharma is using a DNA minor groove binding technology platform under a license from its developer, the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.

MGB-BP-3 is a broad range antibacterial designed to fight key multi-resistant Gram-positive pathogens. The Company has developed an oral formulation of MGB-BP-3 for treatment of C. diff that is ready to enter the clinic, as well as an IV formulation that is in late-stage preclinical development and designed for a range of systemic Gram-positive infections.

Founded in 2010, MGB Biopharma is headquartered in Glasgow and funded by Scottish investors that include Archangel Informal Investment, Barwell, TriCapital and Scottish Co-Investment Fund.

Previous articleMerck & Co. Acquires Idenix for $3.85B, Adding to HCV Portfolio
Next article“Seed” Enhancers Seize Control during Stem Cell Development