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Nabriva Therapeutics Secures $56 Million Investment


Nabriva Therapeutics Forschungs GmbH (‘Nabriva’), a specialist antibiotic research and development company was launched recently as a spin-off of the Vienna based Antibiotic Research Institute (ABRI) from Sandoz GmbH, Kundl. The spin-off of ABRI is being financed by a group of venture capitalists led by Nomura Phase4 Ventures, a specialist investor in the healthcare market.

The $56 Million financing will provide Nabriva with sufficient funding to bring core products to Phase II trials and has attracted ‘blue chip’ investors including HBM Partners (a long-term supporter of anti-bacterial drug development) the Wellcome Trust, Global Life Sciences Ventures and Novartis Venture Fund. ABRI was founded in 2001 with the objective of discovering and developing new antibiotic compounds. Because of the strategic orientation of Sandoz as the generic pharmaceutical company within the Novartis group, ABRI no longer fits with the focus of Sandoz. However, Sandoz will retain links with Nabriva going forward, as a shareholder with a seat on the Advisory Board. Nabriva will focus on the development of small molecule antibiotics for use in community and hospital infections. Nabriva has a strong pipeline of antibacterial drugs including three late preclinical projects and one product about to enter Phase 1 clinical trials. All the projects are based on families of small molecules with known antibiotic activity. Antibiotics form a major part of the anti-infectives market, the second most frequently prescribed class of drugs, representing 10% of the global pharmaceutical market. (In 2004 the US antibiotics market was valued at $15.4 Billion.)

Rodger Novak, Chief Operating Officer of Nabriva GmbH, said, “This is a major milestone in Nabriva’s development. The investment and support provided by Sandoz has set us on an excellent footing for a strong future and we are pleased that we will continue a relationship with them as we become an independent company with new investors.” Commenting on Nabriva’s product pipeline, he said, “The increasing incidence of bacterial resistance necessitates the development of new antibiotics. We are developing broad spectrum antibiotics that should meet the demand of communities and hospitals as they seek to tackle resistant bacteria. We hope to bring a treatment for respiratory tract infections to Phase 1 clinical trials in the next 12 months.”

Denise Pollard Knight, CEO, Nomura Phase4 Ventures, said “The team at Nabriva has extensive experience in antibiotics research and early stage development. We were able to attract investment from a very strong syndicate of investors which is a clear endorsement of the strength of Nabriva’s pipeline. The financing will allow us to strengthen the management team, increase and focus resources on the development side of the business and reach some clinical milestones.”

Ernst Meijnders, Sandoz' Business Unit Head Anti-Infectives comments, “Sandoz is pleased that the development track record of the ABRI management and associates is recognized by the market and now results in this promising spin-off. With this transaction we are enabling an excellent start of a new Biotech company and setting a milestone for the Biotechnology scene in Austria. We compliment Nomura and associated investors for their commitment. This will strengthen Nabriva's position in the successful development of new medications against infectious diseases.”

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