HARLOW, U.K. and LABÈGE, France—Argenta, a Galapagos NV company that provides drug discovery services from target validation to proof of concept, announced today that it has achieved a milestone with its collaboration partner Antabio in an anti-bacterial drug discovery project funded by the Wellcome Trust. The attainment of the milestone triggers the drawdown of a further €1.7 million (about $2.8 million) tranche of their Seeding Drug Discovery Award.
A novel lead series of pan-metallo beta-lactamase (MBL) inhibitors has been identified that, in combination with carbapenems, restores antibacterial activity against life-threatening clinical isolates while exhibiting no toxicity or developmental issues, the collaborating companies stated in a press release. Multi-drug resistant gram-negative bacteria account for most hospital infections worldwide, causing up to 75,000 deaths yearly and extra healthcare costs/productivity losses of >€1.5 billion ($2.5 billion). One of the most effective treatments is the use of carbapenem antibiotics; however, the usefulness of these antibiotics is becoming increasingly compromised due to the rise of clinical resistance associated with the spread of genes encoding various MBL enzymes, primarily the carbapenemases of the NDM, VIM and IMP types.
The Argenta/Antabio collaboration began in February 2013, when the Wellcome Trust awarded Antabio €4.7 million (about $7.8 million) to fund the discovery of a novel, safe and efficacious pan-inhibitor of bacterial MBLs. Since then, Argenta has provided medicinal chemistry, computer-aided drug design and ADME/PK services, together with its integrated drug discovery expertise, to assist Antabio achieve its research goals.
“To have achieved on schedule our first milestone in our collaboration with the Trust is a great satisfaction for our team, and a sign that solid foundations are in place for this discovery program,” said Marc Lemonnier, CEO of Antabio. “We believe the therapeutic potential of a small-molecule pan-MBL inhibitor is very significant and will eventually improve the outcome for patients suffering from severe nosocomial gram-negative infections. This milestone will support further lead optimization efforts to progress our compounds rapidly towards pre-clinical candidate nomination.”
John Montana, Argenta’s Managing Director, added “We are delighted to have achieved this milestone with our collaboration partner, Antabio, and look forward to our continuing partnership on this exciting drug discovery project. Once again, this achievement underlines Argenta’s ability to deliver high-quality science within exacting deadlines.”
Argenta is a fully-integrated drug discovery services provider and a trusted partner for many world-leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies including AstraZeneca, Genentech, Janssen and Zafgen. The company combines a comprehensive range of discovery services with multiple disease area expertise including respiratory, oncology, pain and inflammatory disease, providing a combination of scientific excellence, a full in-vitro and in-vivo pharmacology and DMPK capability, cutting edge medicinal chemistry thinking and cost-effectiveness.
Argenta provides fully integrated and stand-alone services from target validation through to development candidate nomination and has built a track record of delivering development compounds, averaging more than three per year. Founded in 2000, Argenta currently employs over 160 scientists in the U.K. with an average of 17 years pharmaceutical drug discovery expertise.
ANTABIO is a France-based start-up biopharmaceutical company, situated at Labège near Toulouse, dedicated to the discovery of first-in-class small molecule compounds to treat severe hospital- and community-acquired infections caused by multi- and pan-drug resistant bacterial pathogens. Based on its patented technology and unique antibacterial discovery know-how, ANTABIO is committed to developing strong partnerships to advance novel drugs that will offer a synergistic solution to the shortfall of the current antibacterial arsenal.
The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. The Trust's breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests.