Lead candidate is expected to begin Phase II trials this year in Gram-negative infections.

Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals made $45 million in a Series C financing led by CMEA Ventures. Proceeds will be used to move its pipeline of antibiotics into Phase I and II trials. The company is developing next-generation tetracyclines.

Tetraphase says that its synthetic chemistry platform allows for infinite combinations of diverse analogs through the modification of the tetracycline scaffold. Traditional approaches to developing tetracyclines are based on semi-synthetic production, which have limited the range of potential chemical diversity that can be developed from a core molecule. Nearly all semi-synthetic efforts have been directed at a small number of substitutions on one of the tetracycline rings.

Tetraphase believes that its technique represents a platform for developing novel antibiotics with the ability for detailed and specific chemical modification. “Tetraphase’s transformational and proprietary chemistry platform enables, for the first time, the ability to design and create thousands of novel tetracyclines, which are a known, powerful class of antibiotics, giving them many shots on goal to develop potent antibiotics with unique properties for treating serious drug-resistant infections,” says Steve Gullans, Ph.D., managing director of Excel Venture Management, who will join Tetraphase’s board of directors in connection with the financing.

Lead product candidate, TP-434, is a broad-spectrum intravenous (IV) antibiotic that has shown potential in the treatment of Gram-negative pathogens. It is anticipated to enter Phase II studies this year. Preliminary data from in vitro studies has shown that TP-434 also has the potential to be developed as an oral therapy.

In addition, Tetraphase expects to advance two more oral/IV antibiotics: TP-2758, which is designed to treat complicated urinary tract infections, and TP-834 for the treatment of community acquired bacterial pneumonia.

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