TAXIS acquires novel antimicrobial drug candidates from Biota

TAXIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (the “Company”) today announced the acquisition of a group of novel antimicrobial drug candidates from Biota Pharmaceuticals Inc. (“Biota”) of Atlanta, GA. The acquisition will help expand the Company’s ongoing research into next-generation antibiotics for multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“These compounds potentially will treat a broad spectrum of the emerging, drug-resistant pathogens that are a well-known and growing public health threat,” said Gregory Mario, CEO of TAXIS. “When combined with our proprietary technology, the compounds appear to be effective against the two types of drug-resistant staph infections that most concern health care providers.”

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The alarming rise in the number of MDR bacterial pathogens in recent years has dramatically reduced the utility of the current arsenal of antibiotics. According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic resistance represents one of the most pressing global health challenges today.

TAXIS research targets two MDR pathogens recognized as major threats to global public health: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-insensitive Staphylococcus aureus (VISA). Through a novel mode of action that disrupts bacterial cell division, the Company’s compounds attack bacteria in a completely different way than do antibiotics currently on the market. The compounds acquired from Biota employ a similar mode of action, and will increase the number of candidate molecules the company can develop.

Based at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s Tech Center of NJ in North Brunswick, TAXIS was founded in 2009 to develop novel antimicrobial technologies discovered at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, by professors Daniel S. Pilch, Ph.D., of the Department of Pharmacology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Edmond J. LaVoie, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy.

Our existing compounds, now augmented by the molecules acquired from Biota, are currently in pre-clinical trials. If successful, these agents would be the first major breakthrough in antibiotic technology since the discovery of ciprofloxacin, commonly known as Cipro, in 1981.