(Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said on Wednesday it signed a deal with British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc to develop antibiotics.
The federal agency said it will share costs with AstraZeneca to develop a portfolio of drugs to treat illnesses caused by bioterrorism agents and antibiotic-resistant infections.
The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority of the HHS will initially provide $50 million, and could pay up to $170 million for development of additional products as part of the deal, which is for five years.
The first drug candidate to be explored is a combination of two antibiotics, Aztreonam and Avibactam, known together as ATM-AVI, the HHS said.
The combination ATM-AVI is being tested in Europe in a mid-stage study, the agency said.
Reporting by Vidya L Nathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila