Local biotech Zavante Therapeutics is teaming up with the National Institutes of Health to see if its antibiotic will fight nasty infections acquired in hospitals. If successful, the medicine could generate more income for Zavante.
Zavante’s lead product is a medicine called Zolyd, which the company originally had planned as a treatment for urinary tract infections that progress to a dangerous (and sometimes life threatening) severity. Zavante has completed trials for that indication, and is about to file a New Drug Application with the FDA in hopes to win approval. And now there may be a an additional infection the antibiotic can fight.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), an arm of the NIH, will evaluate Zolyd against the most common cause of death among hospital acquired infections: hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia and ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia.
“As resistance to currently available antimicrobials has reached alarmingly high levels, it's becoming more challenging to treat deep-seated respiratory infections, particularly those caused by Gram-negative bacteria,” said Zavante’s chief scientific officer Evelyn Ellis-Grosse in a statement.
NIAID plans to start a Phase 1 human trial of Zolyd in the fourth quarter of 2017. The study will be conducted at Duke University, and the drug will be provided by Zavante.
Other than the cost of the medicine, NIAID will shoulder the cost of the clinical trial. If the drug proves effective and safe in later stage trials, it could be a new income stream for Zavante.
Zavante is known in San Diego for being founded by bigshot biotech veterans Cam Garner, Ted Schroeder, and Cam Gallagher. The company has secured at least $55 million since its inception in 2015, including a $45 million Series A round and a $10 million loan from Square 1 Bank.