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MGB Biopharma Ltd.

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

MGB Biopharma Ltd. believes it may be able to create compounds that directly kill bacteria before they ever have a chance to mutate. Its plan is to develop chemicals that bind to bacterial DNA and stop transcription of key genes. Indeed, the fi rst three letters of the company’s name stand for minor groove binders, because this is the class of drug that management aspires to develop as antibacterials.

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Kenta Biotech Ltd.

Kenta Biotech Ltd., is betting that fully human monoclonal antibodies will become valuable treatments for hospitalized patients battling serious bacterial infections. Some strong clinical data is giving Kenta confidence. It recently reported positive results from a Phase IIa clinical trial of critically ill patients with hospital-acquired and ventilator-acquired pneumonia caused by pseudomonas aeruginosa. All those who completed the three-infusion course of Kenta’s lead candidate survived and fully cleared their pneumonia. No negative systemic or infusion-site responses were reported.

As Drug-Resistant Microbes Rise, Antibiotic Start-Ups Need Savvy Investors

VCs see rich exit opportunities, especially for start-ups with multiple products in their pipelines. In this issue we profile four emerging antibiotic drug developers: Cempra Pharmaceuticals, DesignMedix, Kenta Biotech and MGB Biopharma.

Cempra Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Formed around a library of macrolide analogs licensed from Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Cempra Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s original intent was to build an improved version of Ketek, the ketolide antibiotic telithromycin that caused liver toxicity problems after its 2004 US launch. Cempra says its lead candidate CEM-101 is two-to-four times more potent than telithromycin. In addition to an oral form, Cempra is also developing an intravenous version that could be used to treat serious infections in the hospital.

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