UCL School of Pharmacy research leads to clinical development of a novel agent targeting Clostridium Difficile

A new antibiotic derived from earlier compounds invented by Professor Stephen Neidle of the UCL School of Pharmacy and Professor John Mann, then at Queen’s University Belfast is to enter a Phase I clinical trial. Summit plc, an Oxford, UK based drug discovery company, has just announced that it has received approval from the UK regulatory body, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, to shortly commence a Phase I clinical trial for SMT19969, an oral small molecule antibiotic that is selective for the treatment of C. difficile infections. This serious hospital-associated bacterial disease especially affects the elderly and is hard to treat with existing drugs. In 2011 it was responsible for over 2,000 deaths in the UK, and is estimated to cause over 30,000 deaths in the USA 

SMT19969 itself has been developed by Summit and its biological properties have been characterized in collaboration with the Neidle laboratory in the UCL School of Pharmacy. The collaboration was funded by the Wellcome Trust Seeding Drug Discovery fund. SMT19969 shows exceptional selectivity and potency for the bacterium and pre-clinical data has indicated that it has remarkably low toxicity.

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