Early Advantage Fund Invests £75,000 In Abgentis

Messages to the Chancellor8 October 2012

A company creating new treatments for life-threatening and drug-resistant bacterial infections has received a cash injection from Midven’s Early Advantage Fund.

Abgentis, based at the Birmingham Research Park, will receive £75,000 from the Fund in up to three milestone-driven tranches to establish proof of concept.

The company is working to modify the antibiotic compound novobiocin, originally used to treat infections in the 1960s but which was replaced by drugs that were more competitive at the time.

“Now, however, the clinical landscape has changed,” said Lloyd Czaplewski, who founded Abgentis.  “There is resistance to these replacements and more recent clinical evaluation of novobiocin in oncology confirms that it is well tolerated in man.”

He said that new scientific insights into how novobiocin works provided an opportunity to re-engineer the drug to create a new and valuable antibiotic therapy.  “Antibiotics have been a low priority for development over the last decade but the clinical need is increasing with wide-spread drug-resistance, an ageing population and new markets in developing countries,” said Dr Czaplewski.

The £75,000 comes through Midven’s Early Advantage Fund, which provides investment for small, high growth businesses at start-up and early stage in the West Midlands, and has already helped secure additional private investment for the company, which plans to raise further funding this autumn. A business angel has also invested in this round.

The money will be used to generate a package of pre-clinical proof-of-concept information to support the licensing of the programme to established pharmaceutical companies.

Dr Andrew Muir, a director of Midven and investment director of the Early Advantage Fund who has joined the Board of Abgentis said: “Lloyd has an excellent understanding of the technology and needs in the field of novel antibacterials and our funding will enable the company to validate its novel approach.”

Professor Lawrence Young, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of College of Medical Sciences at the University of Birmingham commented: “The University of Birmingham is very pleased to be hosting Abgentis on the Birmingham Research Park.  This will provide exciting opportunities to develop collaborative projects that build on the excellent platforms developed by Abgentis and on our world-leading research on microbiology and infection”.