SAN FRANCISCO, CA, January 8, 2009 – Achaogen, an emerging biopharmaceutical company addressing the issue of multi-drug resistant bacterial infections through the discovery and development of innovative broad-spectrum antibiotics, today announced that it has received a £4.1 million Seeding Drug Discovery award from the Wellcome Trust. This award will help support the investigational new drug (IND)-enabling studies and advancement into clinical trials of Achaogen’s portfolio of proprietary neoglycosides for the treatment of Gram-negative bacterial infections. Neoglycosides are Achaogen’s unique, next-generation aminoglycosides, in development to address the growing issue of multi-drug resistance to antibiotic agents.
“The escalation in resistance to even the most advanced antibiotics available today is one of our most concerning healthcare issues worldwide. Our support of Achaogen’s research recognizes the importance the Wellcome Trust places on this area of urgent need, and our commitment to help stop the spread of untreatable bacterial infections - especially Gram-negative infections - through hospitals, nursing homes and the wider community,” said Dr. Ted Bianco, Director of Technology Transfer at the Wellcome Trust.
The Wellcome Trust award supports ongoing preclinical studies of two Achaogen drug candidates: the Company’s lead compound ACHN-490, which has shown promising broad-spectrum activity against Gram-negative bacterial infections, including the highly resistant Enterobacteriaceae; plus a second set of leads with expanded-spectrum activity against multi-drug resistant Acinetobacter baumannii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Both new chemical entities are being studied by Achaogen with the expectation of entering an initial product candidate into Phase 1 clinical development in 2009.
Aminoglycosides are a proven class of antibacterials that remain in extensive clinical use, generating over $650 million in sales worldwide. There has not been a new member of this important class approved for decades, however, and the utility of existing drugs is declining rapidly due to the expansion of resistant bacterial strains – one of the most critical and worrisome issues facing healthcare today.
Kevin Judice, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer of Achaogen, said, “We are very pleased to receive this funding award through the Seeding Drug Discovery Initiative of the Wellcome Trust. It is an honor that such a distinguished organization shares our vision and recognizes our potential to positively impact public health in the area of antibiotic resistance. We anticipate leveraging the wealth of experience and support made available to us through the Trust as we advance these compounds toward the clinic.”
About The Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust is the largest charity in the UK. It funds innovative biomedical research, in the UK and internationally, spending over £600 million each year to support the brightest scientists with the best ideas. The Wellcome Trust supports public debate about biomedical research and its impact on health and wellbeing.http://www.wellcome.ac.uk
Seeding Drug Discovery, established in 2005, is the Wellcome Trust’s five-year, £91 million initiative that aims to develop drug-like, small molecules that will be the springboard for further research and development by the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry in areas of unmet medical need.
Achaogen is an emerging biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative, broad-spectrum antibiotics to treat multi-drug resistant bacterial infections. Resistance to available antibacterial therapies continues to rise at an alarming rate, and Achaogen is poised to meet the evolving needs of this market by applying its anticipatory science to develop drugs today that will combat tomorrow’s resistant pathogens. This scientific strategy represents a novel approach to addressing the global bacterial resistance crisis. Achaogen is creating new medicines that anticipate the next wave of anti-bacterial infections, including agents for the underserved Gram-negative infectious disease market and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), including its portfolio of next-generation aminoglycosides, the neoglycosides. South San Francisco-based Achaogen is backed by top-tier venture investors and has received substantial non-dilutive funding from NIH, the US Department of Defense, and other sources. Venture capital investors include 5 AM Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners and Domain Associates, Venrock Associates and Versant Ventures. For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.achaogen.com.
Sondra Newman, Pure Communications