FAB Pharma to develop new class of anti-MRSA drugs

FAB Pharma today announced the completion of a €2.3 million round of series A funding led by CDC innovation and co-led by Bioam Gestion.

FAB Pharma has acquired assets in the treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from Mutabilis S.A. Severe infections caused by MRSA is a growing issue, especially in the hospital where it is one of the main causes of nosocomial infections. By definition, MRSA is resistant to a broad group of antibiotics. FAB Pharma's approach consists in developing a new class of low-molecular-weight antibacterial molecules which target a specific, essential enzyme in MRSA called Fatty Acid Biosynthesis I (FAB I).

There is a growing medical need for anti-MRSA drugs. Nosocomial infections constitute a major health problem, with 4 million cases reported each year in Europe and 2 million a year in the USA. Over the period 2009-2014, the number of patients infected with MRSA is expected to grow significantly in both Europe and the USA. Nosocomial infections are an important concern because they are associated with high levels of morbidity and mortality; indeed, severe infections and sepsis can be lethal in 30% of cases. Moreover, nosocomial infections generate extensive hospitalization and intensive care costs (about $5 billion a year in the USA).

FAB Pharma's R&D program involves creating an anti-MRSA drug based on its Fab-001 lead product candidate. Fab-001 is a narrow-spectrum antibiotic with exceptional efficacy versus known virulent strains of MRSA. It possesses a novel mechanism of action that is not used by any drug currently on the market or in late-stage clinical development. This remarkable €2.3 million round of funding means that FAB Pharma now has the capacity to finance Phase I clinical trials and develop back-up products. Indeed, recruitment for the Phase I study of Fab-001 (a single-dose injection in healthy volunteers) has just begun and the study should complete by the end of 2009. A second Phase I trial (with multiple ascending doses) could start later this year.

FAB Pharma has appointed an experienced management team. Stefan Fischer (Mutabilis' former CEO) is heading the company and Sonia Escaich PhD (Mutabilis' former CSO) is working as a scientific consultant, in liaison with the world-renowned experts on the firm's Scientific Advisory Board. Florian Reinaud (Partner at CDC Innovation) and Olivier Martinez (Investment Manager at Bioam Gestion) join the Board of Directors.

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