ZURICH, June 12 Swiss biotech company Basilea
said it had started an early-stage clinical study of an
antibiotic to treat infections with multi-drug resistant
Gram-negative bacteria in combination with another drug.
The Basel-based company is investigating the safety and
tolerability of BAL30072 in a Phase I study in combination with
meropenem, an antibiotic of the carbapenem class. Infections
caused by Gram-negative bacteria account for about one third of
all hospital-acquired infections.
Experts have warned that new treatments are needed to
prevent superbugs resistant to even the most powerful drugs on
offer from undermining modern medicine.
Over the past decade Big Pharma has gradually withdrawn from
antibiotics research, creating a gap for smaller companies such
as Basilea, Cubist Pharmaceuticals and the Medicines
Company to take the lead in the field.
Basilea has received funding worth up to $89 million for the
development of BAL30072 from the Biomedical Advanced Research
and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services responsible for developing
countermeasures against public health emergencies.
(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by David Holmes)