ROCKVILLE, Md., Nov. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Synthetic Biologics, Inc. (NYSE MKT: SYN), a developer of synthetic biologics and innovative medicines for serious infections and diseases, announced today that the Company has entered into an agreement with Prev AbR LLC to acquire its clinical-stage and related beta-lactamase assets targeted for the prevention of Clostridium difficile ( C. diff) infection, the leading cause of hospital acquired infections (HAI), that may occur secondary to treatment with antibiotics. The assets include a pre-Investigational New Drug (IND) package, Phase I and Phase II clinical data, manufacturing process data and all issued and pending U.S. and international patents intended to support an IND and Biologic License Application (BLA) with the FDA. Beta-lactamase enzymes have the ability to degrade beta-lactam antibiotics that may be excreted into the GI tract. Beta-lactam antibiotics are a mainstay in hospital infection management and include both penicillins and cephalosporins. In 2011, an estimated 8.7 million Americans were administered intravenous beta-lactam antibiotics. Utilizing the acquired biologic compounds, Synthetic Biologics intends to develop and commercialize a proprietary oral beta-lactamase enzyme product candidate, SYN-004. When co-administered with beta-lactam antibiotics in a hospital setting, it is expected that SYN-004 can preserve a patient's gastrointestinal (GI) microflora, thus preventing opportunistic C. diff infection (CDI). C. diff Infection In 2009, aggregate costs associated with CDI-related stays in the hospital were $8.2 billion in the U.S. CDI is a global HAI in which the toxins produced by C. diff bacteria result in diarrhea ( C. diff-associated diarrhea (CDAD)), and in the most serious cases, pseudomembranous colitis (erosion of the GI tract) that can lead to death. A major, unintended risk in the use of systemic antibiotics is the development of CDI, which may alter the balance of the GI microflora that normally protect the GI tract from C. diff overgrowth and infection. Other risk factors for CDI include hospitalization, prolonged length of stay, underlying illness, immune-compromising conditions including the administration of chemotherapy, and advanced age. CDI is a widespread and often drug resistant infectious disease, resulting in more than 337,000 hospitalizations and 30,000 deaths in the U.S. during 2009. CDI has surpassed methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) as the most frequent infection acquired in the hospital. It has recently been reported by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the current number of CDI cases may be as high as 500,000 annually in the U.S. Controlling the spread of CDI has proven challenging, as the C. diff spores are easily transferred to patients via the hands of healthcare personnel. There is currently no vaccine or approved product for the prevention of C. diff infection. Synthetic Biologics' Product Candidate: SYN-004 The acquisition includes the clinical-stage and related beta-lactamase assets, P1A, P2A and P3A (now known as SYN-004). Phase I studies of P1A, the first compound in the series, showed acceptable safety and tolerability. In addition, two Phase II clinical studies demonstrated its ability to preserve GI microflora in hospitalized patients treated with intravenous ampicillin or the combination of piperacillin and tazobactam.