Xellia Pharmaceuticals is developing new antibiotics effective against multidrug-resistant (MDR), Gram-negative bacteria. This four year project is a collaboration with SINTEF Materials and Chemistry and the Statens Serum Institut. The project is being supported by a $3 million grant from the Research Council of Norway (NFR) and also includes contributions from laboratories across Europe.

Xellia is aiming to develop new antibiotics that target Gram-negative bacterial infections caused by Pseudomonas, Klebsiella, Acinetobacter, and Enterobacter species, which can cause severe sepsis and septic shock.

“These drugs have the potential to address the immediate global need for antibiotics to overcome MDR infections, in particular those caused by pan-drug resistant and extensively drug resistant (XDR) Gram-negative bacteria,” said Dr. Aleksandar Danilovski vp of R&D at Xellia.

According to the company, only two antibiotic subclasses are currently still available to treat XDR infections, polymyxins and tigecycline. Last-line polymyxin drugs such as polymyxin B and colistin have been used for 60–70 years without developing a significant resistance; however, these antibiotics are known to exhibit elevated nephrotoxicity and are not ideal for systemic treatment of XDR-infections.

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