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U of Plymouth start-up secures £1.2m UK grant to develop novel antibiotic that combats MRSA


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: February 6th, 2019

A University of Plymouth start-up has landed a £1.2 million grant from the UK Department of Health and Social Care to advance its lead antibiotic candidate targeting antimicrobial resistant superbugs.

Amprologix Limited will use the funding to prepare its epidermicin NI01 antibiotic, which is derived from bacteria found on human skin, for the first phase of human clinical trials in early 2021.

The start-up’s first product is expected to be a nasal cream containing the antibiotic that would help prevent MSRA infections, which are resistant to more commonly used antibiotics. Last year, the World Health Organization named MSRA a “high priority” target for antibiotic research.

“I feel very strongly that epidermicin has excellent potential for use in nasal decolonization to prevent skin and wound infections, like those caused by MSRA,” says Mathew Upton, professor of medical microbiology at the University of Plymouth whose research Amprologix is based on.

“Development of NI01 could have immense benefits for patients,” adds Upton. “I’m genuinely excited about this work and generating the data needed to enter Phase 1 trials.”

Research commercialization firm Frontier IP has provided Amprologix with a range of services to help take the antibiotic to market and holds a 10% stake in the start-up. In addition, Amprologix has secured an industry partnership with biotech company Ingenza, which also holds shares in the company.

Neil Crabb, CEO of Frontier IP, comments, “Through Amprologix and professor Upton’s groundbreaking science, there is huge potential to prove the efficacy of epidermicin and identify future new antibiotics that can be manufactured at scale.”

Source: EurekAlert!

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