Newswise — NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ -- TAXIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (the “Company”) today announced the acquisition of a group of novel antimicrobial drug candidates from Biota Pharmaceuticals Inc. (“Biota”) of Atlanta, GA. The acquisition will help expand the Company’s ongoing research into next-generation antibiotics for multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“These compounds potentially will treat a broad spectrum of the emerging, drug-resistant pathogens that are a well-known and growing public health threat,” said Gregory Mario, CEO of TAXIS. “When combined with our proprietary technology, the compounds appear to be effective against the two types of drug-resistant staph infections that most concern health care providers.”

The alarming rise in the number of MDR bacterial pathogens in recent years has dramatically reduced the utility of the current arsenal of antibiotics. According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic resistance represents one of the most pressing global health challenges today.

TAXIS research targets two MDR pathogens recognized as major threats to global public health: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-insensitive Staphylococcus aureus (VISA). Through a novel mode of action that disrupts bacterial cell division, the Company’s compounds attack bacteria in a completely different way than do antibiotics currently on the market. The compounds acquired from Biota employ a similar mode of action, and will increase the number of candidate molecules the company can develop.

Based at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s Tech Center of NJ in North Brunswick, TAXIS was founded in 2009 to develop novel antimicrobial technologies discovered at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, by professors Daniel S. Pilch, Ph.D., of the Department of Pharmacology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Edmond J. LaVoie, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy.

Our existing compounds, now augmented by the molecules acquired from Biota, are currently in pre-clinical trials. If successful, these agents would be the first major breakthrough in antibiotic technology since the discovery of ciprofloxacin, commonly known as Cipro, in 1981.

About TAXIS Pharmaceuticals

TAXIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. discovers and develops novel antibiotics targeting multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens, a therapeutic category estimated to exceed $35B worldwide. Since its formation in 2009, TAXIS has patented multiple new classes of bactericidal agents that exploit a novel mechanism of action – distinct from any other antibiotic in clinical use today – that hold the promise of delivering the first transformational innovation in antibiotic technology since the discovery of ciprofloxacin in 1981.

About Rutgers

Established in 1766, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is America’s eighth oldest institution of higher learning and one of the nation’s premier public research universities, educating more than 65,000 students and serving the people of New Jersey at campuses, divisions, research centers and clinical practices throughout the state. Rutgers’ flagship, based in New Brunswick, is the only public institution in New Jersey represented in the prestigious Association of American Universities. Rutgers University is also a member of the Big Ten Conference and its academic counterpart, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation – a consortium of 15 world-class research universities.

About Biota

Biota Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of products to prevent and treat serious and potentially life-threatening viral respiratory infectious diseases. The Company currently has two Phase 2 clinical-stage product candidates: laninamivir octanoate, which the Company is developing for the treatment of influenza A and B infections and vapendavir, a potent, oral broad spectrum capsid inhibitor of enteroviruses, including human rhinovirus and EV-71, which is being developed to treat patients with underlying respiratory illnesses, such as moderate to severe asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In addition to these late-stage clinical development programs, the Company has preclinical programs focused on developing oral antivirals for the treatment of respiratory syncytial virus infections.

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