UK antibiotics specialist Motif lists on AIM

UK-based antibiotics developer Motif Bio has made its debut on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM board, raising £2.8 million.

The cash injection is a little below expectations of around £4 million but will help the company advance the development of lead compound iclaprim, that it maintains could be on the market within the next three years.

Shares started the day at just around 20 pence and, after rising to almost 48 pence in an initial flurry, had tracked back to around 31 pence at the time of writing, up 55 per cent.

Motif’s listing comes at an opportune time given the rising interest in developing drugs to combat antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs’, which led to the creation of a government-led taskforce in the UK last year and similar public and private initiatives around the world.

These are multi-pronged schemes designed to encourage the most appropriate use of currently-available drugs and prevent further resistance occurring, but all have the same ultimate objective of accelerating the number of new antibacterials coming through the pipeline, particularly those with novel mechanisms.

Motif is currently developing two new antibiotics that work in different ways to those commonly used today.

Iclaprim is a selective inhibitor of the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) – similar to the established drug trimethoprim but with a different chemical structure and a lower tendency to cause resistance. A follow-up called MTF-001 – billed as “a best-in-class DHFR inhibitor” – is in preclinical development.

Iclaprim was originally developed by Roche and taken over by Arpida which submitted it for approval in 2008, only to be turned down by the US FDA and EMA and shelved. Motif is buying rights to the drug from US company Nuprim.

Motif insists that the drug still has potential – not least because of the greater urgency in the need for new antibiotic options – and is aiming to meet with the regulators in the US and EU later this year with a view to discussing the design of phase III trials that could get underway before year-end.

It is notable that two other antibiotics that were turned down by the FDA around the same time – The Medicines Company’s Orbactiv (oritavancin) and Durata’s Dalvance (dalbavancin) – have both now been approved for marketing.

Motif said earlier that the group was hoping to raise enough money to fund operations for 18 months, and would consider a partnership with another pharma company to help bring iclaprim through late-stage development.

Related article

Antibiotic resistance: alarm bells ring louder than ever

Don't miss your daily pharmaphorum news.
SUBSCRIBE free here.