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Novacta receives £3.5 million strategic translation award from the Wellcome Trust


For immediate release: Monday 14 January 2008, 9.30 am GMT

For further information contact:

Novacta
+44 (0) 1707 356130
Dr Tony Sedgwick, Chief Executive Officer
Dr Mike Dawson, Chief Scientific Officer

College Hill
+44 (0) 20 7457 2020
Sue Charles
Tony Stephenson

Wellcome Trust
+44 (0) 20 7611 8866
Media Office


Novacta receives 3.5 million strategic translation award from the Wellcome Trust to target C.difficile infections

Welwyn, UK ... Novacta Biosystems, a UK-based anti-infective therapeutics company, announces that the Wellcome Trust, the UK's largest medical research charity, has awarded it 3.5 million as part of the Trust's Strategic Translational Award programme. Novacta will use the award to progress development of a drug which, it is hoped, will help combat hospital-based Clostridium difficile (C.difficile) infections.

C. difficile infections (CDIs) are a growing and serious problem and have, for example, been associated with twice as many deaths in UK hospitals last year as MRSA. Cases of C.difficile infections, which occur in the lower digestive tract, rose by 22 per cent in the past year and affected more than 15,500 people over 65 in the first quarter of 2007. New anti-infective drugs are needed to target C.difficile without depleting other beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Novacta is developing novel, naturally-derived products known as 'lantibiotics' as potential drugs for treating hospital acquired infections caused by C.difficile. Early preclinical data show promise for an effective treatment for CDI, acting selectively to kill C.difficile with less disturbance of normal gut bacteria than seen with existing drugs. Novacta will use the Wellcome Trust Strategic Translational award to progress its preclinical drug candidates into human clinical studies.

Dr Ted Bianco, Director of Technology Transfer at the Wellcome Trust, said 'It is ironic that the current rise in C.difficile infections owes much to the widespread use of broad spectrum antibiotics. We need to be smarter in how we deploy our existing medicines and how we develop new treatments. Novacta should be applauded for its efforts to move away from carpet bombing our microbial flora in favour of precision targeting of the C.difficile bacterium.'

Dr Mike Dawson, Novacta's Chief Scientific Officer, commented, 'We are encouraged by early preclinical results which show potential for a much more selective approach to treat CDI. The Trust's support will enable us to complete preclinical development and to conduct a Phase I clinical trial to establish safety and tolerability in humans.'

Dr Tony Sedgwick, Novacta's Chief Executive Officer, commented, 'We are delighted that the Wellcome Trust has recognised our work in the area of lantibiotic drugs for the treatment of CDI. We are now positioned to evaluate the clinical potential of our programme, while we continue to build our product pipeline for other therapeutic indications.'

- ENDS-

Notes to Editors

About Novacta

Novacta is a UK-based biotechnology company that specialises in the discovery and development of potential treatments for infectious diseases using a class of naturally occurring compounds called lantibiotics

Novacta's proprietary, patented technologies are in the fields of 'pathway engineering' (in which the pathways used by microorganisms are harnessed and exploited) and 'biotransformations' (in which natural catalysts called enzymes are used to perform otherwise complex chemistry in a cleaner and more efficient way than some traditional methods). These technologies are applied to manipulate the structure of natural lantibiotics and optimise them for use as therapeutic agents in areas of unmet medical need

Novacta's technologies have given rise to a number of potential drug candidates, including those in the C.difficile programme. Other programmes include one targeting methicillin-resistant Staphyl


Publisher Contact Information:

Novacta Biosystems
+44 (0) 1707 356130
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