Biota Holdings Ltd of Melbourne, Australia, has acquired the key assets and programmes of Oxford University spin-out Prolysis Ltd, for £6.4 million in Biota shares, plus a percentage of future revenues if any of the company’s antibiotics are commercialised.
Prolysis has two main projects in which it is developing antibiotics for multiple drug resistant infections: a gyrase programme targeting DNA supercoiling in gram positive bacteria; and a Cell Division Inhibitor programme targeting Staphylococci. This project has received £3.48 million in funding from the Wellcome Trust’s Seeding Drug discovery programme.
In addition to this grant funding, Prolysis has raised over £10 million in venture capital funding.
Prolysis was founded on the work of Jeff Errington, previously of Oxford University and now the Director of the Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences at Newcastle University.
Biota said it will retain all Prolysis staff and keep its laboratory in Oxford. It has also undertaken to invest £13.8 million over the next 3 years developing key programmes.
Errington said, “The deal secures our antibiotic programmes through clinical trials with a world class partner. It also guarantees the future of our Oxford facility and helps to enhance our tradition of antibiotic R&D in the UK.” The Wellcome Trust has agreed to transfer its funding agreement to Biota.