The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the NIH, has agreed to provide additional funding of $9.2 million to its existing contract with Enanta Pharmaceuticals, an R&D-focused biotechnology company dedicated to creating small molecule drugs in the infectious disease field, to fund preclinical and early clinical development for a new class of bridged bicyclic antibiotics known as Bicyclolides.
NIAID is funding development of the Bicyclolides for use as medical countermeasures against multiple biodefense Category A and B bacteria. This brings total funding from NIAID to date to approximately $23.5 million. As part of a multi-year contract that was awarded in 2011, this funding could total approximately $42.7 million if all project milestones are met and NIAID exercises all its options to fund additional development under the contract.
In September 2011, Enanta was awarded a contract from NIAID to fund preclinical and early clinical development of a new class of bridged bicyclic antibiotics known as Bicyclolides. The Bicyclolides are to be used as medical countermeasures against multiple biodefense bacteria including anthrax, plague and tularemia. The contract has an initial term of 30 months ending on March 30, 2014 and has now been extended to Feb. 28, 2015. NIAID has four additional options it can exercise to amend the contract in addition to the two options just exercised. If each option is exercised, the contract would be extended until Sept. 29, 2016.
"An urgent need exists to develop new antibiotics that will be effective against gram-positive organisms that are resistant to the currently approved antibiotic classes," said Jay Luly, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer, Enanta Pharmaceuticals.
Enanta's lead Bicyclolide antibiotic candidate is EDP-788. Enanta is focused on the potential use of EDP-788 for the treatment of infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) and drug-resistantstreptococci. All preclinical and early clinical development of EDP-788 is funded under Enanta's contract with NIAID. IND-enabling studies are ongoing and initiation of clinical trials is planned for the first half of 2014.