August 18, 2017 / 7:46 AM / a year ago

Destiny Pharma taps AIM market to fund 'superbug' drugs

LONDON (Reuters) - Biotech firm Destiny Pharma is aiming to raise more than 10 million pounds ($12.9 million) of new equity to develop drugs that target antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, or superbugs, in hospitals, it said on Friday.

Company founder Bill Love said studies had shown its XF-73 drug candidate to be effective against the superbug MRSA, without resistance emerging through 55 repeated exposures.

“The drugs are differentiated from traditional antibiotics and anti-bacterial drug approaches in that their mechanism of action targets bacterial cell membranes, killing bacteria very rapidly,” he said in an interview.

“Due to that mechanism of action in trials and studies we’ve seen no emergence of bacterial resistance to excess drug action.”

Scientists are racing to develop new drugs to prevent and treat life-threatening infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Destiny Pharma’s XF-73 had completed five early stage trials, he said, and the funds raised in the listing would take the drug to the cusp of phase III studies in the prevention of post-surgical Staphylococcus aureus infections during 2019.

The drug could eliminate or reduce the presence of the bacteria, which is in about a third of people’s noses, before a patient undergoes surgery, reducing the risk of post-surgical infection, he said.

Chief Executive Neil Clark said the company was looking to raise “north of 10 million pounds” from new institutional investors and existing shareholders in the listing on London’s junior AIM market.

Around 19 million pounds in equity funding and another 4.5 million pounds of research grant funding had been invested in the company to date, he said.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Susan Thomas

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