Debiopharm International SA Awarded $2.6 Million Grant from CARB-X to Support Development of Debio 1453 to fight drug resistant gonorrhea

Debiopharm, in collaboration with CARB-X, will utilize their state-of-the-art Fabiotics platform to develop novel therapeutics to combat drug-resistant gonorrhea.

Lausanne, Switzerland – July 25, 2017 – Debiopharm International SA (Debiopharm –, part of Debiopharm Group™, a Swiss-based global biopharmaceutical company, today announced that it has been selected to receive a funding award from the Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X) to advance the development of its antibiotic Debio 1453, a FabI inhibitor specifically targeting N. gonorrhoeae.

Debio 1453 inhibits bacterial fatty acid biosynthesis, an essential pathway in major pathogens including Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the causative bacterium in the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea. N. gonorrhoeae has acquired resistance to practically all classes of antibiotics (CDC report) which presents a major global medical problem.

Debiopharm has prototype compounds which target the FabI enzyme in N. gonorrhoeae. The objective of this program is to optimize the prototype molecules by synthesizing new compounds to improve their drug-like characteristics including anti-bacterial activity, absorption, distribution, metabolism, efficacy and toxicity.

At the end of the project, the goal is to select a candidate which meets a commercial target product profile and that is ready for further testing in preparation for human clinical trials for uncomplicated gonorrhea caused by susceptible and drug-resistant N. gonorrhoeae.

“Growing antibiotic resistance is a worldwide health issue”, explains Nigel McCraken, Vice President, Translational Medicine of Debiopharm International SA. “CARB-X grant highlights the need to develop narrow-spectrum innovative antibiotics that spare the microbiome and reduce the potential for cross resistance. We are really excited to move forward with the development of Debio 1453”.

“We are grateful to CARB-X for their recognition of Debiopharm’s pioneering narrow-spectrum gonorrhoea program”, said Bertrand Ducrey, CEO of Debiopharm International SA. “In addition to financial support, CARB-X also brings a strong network of subject-matter expertise in infectious disease which will be the key to winning the war against antimicrobial resistance”.

Kevin Outterson, Executive Director of CARB-X and Professor of Law at Boston University said: “Drug-resistant infections are complex and developing new antibiotics challenging, timely and costly. But restoring the R&D pipeline is vital to address the seriously increasing threat of superbugs which have become resistant to existing drugs. This is a global problem and CARB-X is a critical part of the global solution. We are looking to support the best potential new treatments and diagnostics across the world. We are especially pleased that today’s awards mean we are now supporting scientists in 6 countries. The projects offer exciting potential. But we need greater global support from governments, industry and civil society to get the new treatments the world urgently needs.”

Debiopharm will receive a total of up to $2.6 million of funding over 15 months from CARB-X. Based on defined milestones, CARB-X will then have the option of further extending the program, at Debiopharm, for an additional 9 months at a cost of up to $1.4 million.

About CARB-X
CARB-X is the world’s largest public-private partnership devoted to early stage antibacterial R&D. Funded by BARDA and Wellcome Trust, with in-kind support from NIAID, we will spend up to $455 million from 2017-2021 to support innovative products from ‘hit-to-lead’ stage through to Phase 1 clinical trials. CARB-X focuses on high priority drug-resistant bacteria, especially Gram-negatives. CARB-X is a charitable global public-private partnership led by Boston University. Other partners include the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, MassBio, the California Life Sciences Institute and RTI International. For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter @CARB_X.

About Debiopharm International SA
Part of Debiopharm Group™ – a Swiss-headquartered global biopharmaceutical group including five companies active in the life science areas of drug development, GMP manufacturing of proprietary drugs, diagnostic tools and investment management – Debiopharm International SA is focused on the development of prescription drugs that target unmet medical needs. The company in-licenses and develops promising drug candidates. The products are commercialized by pharmaceutical out-licensing partners to give access to the largest number of patients worldwide.
For more information, please visit
We are on Twitter. Follow us @DebiopharmNews at