Enanta Pharmaceuticals, Inc., (NASDAQ: ENTA), a research and development-focused biotechnology company dedicated to creating small molecule drugs in the infectious disease field, today announced that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has agreed to provide additional funding of $9.2 million to its existing contract with Enanta to fund preclinical and early clinical development for a new class of bridged bicyclic antibiotics known as Bicyclolides. NIAID is funding development of the Bicyclolides for use as medical countermeasures against multiple biodefense Category A and B bacteria. This brings total funding from NIAID to date to approximately $23.5 million. As part of a multi-year contract that was awarded in 2011, this funding could total approximately $42.7 million if all project milestones are met and NIAID exercises all its options to fund additional development under the contract.
Enanta’s lead Bicyclolide antibiotic candidate is EDP-788. In addition to the NIAID contract, Enanta is focused on the potential use of EDP-788 for the treatment of infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) and drug-resistant streptococci. All preclinical and early clinical development of EDP-788 is funded under Enanta’s contract with NIAID. IND enabling studies are ongoing and initiation of clinical trials is planned for the first half of 2014.
“In addition to our important work with NIAID, an urgent need exists to develop new antibiotics that will be effective against gram-positive organisms that are resistant to the currently approved antibiotic classes,” stated Jay Luly, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Enanta Pharmaceuticals. “Our new class of antibiotics shows promising in vitro activity against isolates resistant to vancomycin, linezolid and daptomycin, the three leading therapies often used against drug-resistant bacteria.”
About NIAID ContractIn September 2011, Enanta was awarded a contract from NIAID to fund preclinical and early clinical development of a new class of bridged bicyclic antibiotics known as Bicyclolides. The Bicyclolides are to be used as medical countermeasures against multiple biodefense bacteria including anthrax, plague and tularemia. The contract has an initial term of 30 months ending on March 30, 2014 and has now been extended to February 28, 2015. NIAID has four additional options it can exercise to amend the contract in addition to the two options just exercised. If each option is exercised, the contract would be extended until September 29, 2016. The total award under the initial term and the two options just exercised totals $23.5 million, with the possibility of up to a cumulative total of $42.7 million in funding if NIAID exercises all its options.