Ongar, UK. 3 September 2013:  Selcia Limited, the international life sciences CRO, has entered into a drug discovery collaboration with Cantab Anti-Infectives, the goal of which is to accelerate Cantab’s programme to develop improved antibiotics for multidrug resistant Gram-negative bacterial infections based on the polymyxin nucleus. Cantab has recently been awarded a grant of £2.3m from the Biomedical Catalyst Fund to continue its promising programme in this area.

Polymyxins have become an important ‘last resort’ therapy for certain MDR Gram-negative infections, but suffer from complex pharmacokinetics and dose-limiting toxicities which often lead to sub-optimal therapy. Polymyxins are the only effective antibiotic to act specifically on the lipopolysaccharide of Gram-negative bacteria and, given the rise of problem infections with Gram-negative bacteria, it is timely to harness this mechanism of action into improved therapeutic entities.   

Selcia will provide medicinal chemistry resource to:

– Generate a range of polymyxin-based entities to continue the optimisation of  antibacterial activity against MDR strains in vitro
– Optimise the most promising entities to improve antibacterial activity in vivo
– Optimise therapeutic index 
– Optimise to give a clinical candidate meeting all aspects of the target product profile


Dr Hans Fliri, CEO of Selcia, commented, “We are delighted that Cantab has selected Selcia as its discovery partner for this project and we look forward to a successful conclusion to the collaboration.”

Dr Mike Dawson, CEO of Cantab, commented, “When we wanted to complement our internal medicinal chemistry efforts we identified Selcia as our partner of choice for this project as it has a highly successful track-record working on complex medicinal chemistry projects and identifying development candidates from challenging starting points.”


About Selcia

Selcia Limited is a privately held contract research organisation with two operating divisions, Selcia Discovery which provides integrated small molecule drug discovery services to the global life science industry; these services include in vitro biology, screening, fragment screening, medicinal, organic and analytical chemistry, and in vitro ADME/PK evaluation as well as in vivo PK (with a strategic partner) and Selcia Radiolabelling which specialises in 14C GMP radiolabelling.


About Cantab

Cantab Anti-infectives is focused exclusively on the discovery and development of novel antibacterial agents to treat bacterial infections. The product pipeline has been derived by optimising the therapeutic properties of peptide-derived antibiotics, including lantibiotics and non-ribosomal peptides. This has been achieved through a combination of molecular engineering at the genetic level together with medicinal chemistry to fully explore the structure-activity relationships of these agents. Cantab Anti-Infectives continues to explore new product opportunities both within its existing candidate series and from new agents with the potential to offer significant advantage over current therapies.


About the Biomedical Catalyst Fund

The Biomedical Catalyst fund, announced by Prime Minister David Cameron in December 2011, is a programme of public funding designed to deliver growth to the UK life sciences sector.  Delivered jointly by the Medical Research Council and the Technology Strategy Board, the Biomedical Catalyst provides responsive and effective support for the best life science opportunities arising in the UK.  The programme is open to UK academics and SMEs and seeks to support those opportunities which demonstrate the highest scientific and commercial potential, irrespective of medical area.  For further information please visit:


The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency.  Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation.  Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit



For any enquiries please contact:

Dave Roberts, Business Development, Selcia

01277 367000


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