Abgentis News

  • Biological Evaluation of Benzothiazole Ethyl Urea Inhibitors of Bacterial Type II Topoisomerases

    Novel antibacterial programmes developed under the leadership of Lloyd Czaplewski when he was at Prolysis and Biota Europe are being published.

    Stokes NR, Thomaides-Brears HB, Barker S, Bennett JM, Berry J, Collins I, Czaplewski LG, Gamble V, Lancett P, Logan A, Lunniss CJ, Peasley H, Pommier S, Price D, Smee C, Haydon DJ.

    Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2013 Dec;57(12):5977-86

    The type II topoisomerases DNA gyrase (GyrA/GyrB) and topoisomerase IV (ParC/ParE) are well-validated targets for antibacterial drug discovery. Because of their structural and functional homology, these enzymes are amenable to dual targeting by a single ligand. In this study, two novel benzothiazole ethyl urea-based small molecules, designated compound A and compound B, were evaluated for their biochemical, antibacterial, and pharmacokinetic properties. The two compounds inhibited the ATPase activity of GyrB and ParE with 50% inhibitory concentrations of <0.1 μg/ml. Prevention of DNA supercoiling by DNA gyrase was also observed. Both compounds potently inhibited the growth of a range of bacterial organisms, including staphylococci, streptococci, enterococci, Clostridium difficile, and selected Gram-negative respiratory pathogens. MIC90s against clinical isolates ranged from 0.015 μg/ml for Streptococcus pneumoniae to 0.25 μg/ml for Staphylococcus aureus. No cross-resistance with common drug resistance phenotypes was observed. In addition, no synergistic or antagonistic interactions between compound A or compound B and other antibiotics, including the topoisomerase inhibitors novobiocin and levofloxacin, were detected in checkerboard experiments. The frequencies of spontaneous resistance for S. aureus were <2.3 × 10(-10) with compound A and <5.8 × 10(-11) with compound B at concentrations equivalent to 8× the MICs. These values indicate a multitargeting mechanism of action. The pharmacokinetic properties of both compounds were profiled in rats. Following intravenous administration, compound B showed approximately 3-fold improvement over compound A in terms of both clearance and the area under the concentration-time curve. The measured oral bioavailability of compound B was 47.7%.



  • Lloyd Czaplewski speaks at Antibiotic Actions' international conference

    Antibiotic Action, supported by the BSAC, th Medical Research Council, The Wellcome Trust and BBSRC, invited fifty international experts from academia, science, medicine and industry consider what lessons can be learnt from the last 40-years to aid the discovery and development of new antibacterial agents. In a ground breaking event speakers examined issues such as why interesting antibiotic molecules were not developed, to difficulties in developing antibiotic drugs for Gram negative infections.

    A summary of the meeting can be found at



  • An Improved Small-Molecule Inhibitor of FtsZ with Superior In Vitro Potency, Drug-Like Properties and In Vivo Efficacy

    Published in Antimicrobial Agents & Chemotherapy by Neil R. Stokes, Nicola Baker, James M. Bennett, Joanne Berry, Ian Collins, Lloyd G. Czaplewski, Alastair Logan, Rebecca Macdonald, Leanne MacLeod, Hilary Peasley, Jeffrey P. Mitchell, Narendra Nayal, Anju Yadav, Anil Srivastava and David J. Haydon

    The bacterial cell division protein, FtsZ, is an attractive target for small-molecule antibacterial drug discovery. Derivatives of 3-methoxybenzamide, including compound PC190723, have previously been reported as potent and selective anti-staphylococcal agents, which exert their effect through the disruption of intracellular FtsZ function. Here, we report the further optimization of 3-methoxybenzamide derivatives towards a drug candidate. The in vitro and in vivo characterization of a more advanced lead compound, designated Compound 1, is described. Compound 1 was potently antibacterial, with an average MIC of 0.12 μg/mL against all staphylococcal species, including methicillin- and multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and S. epidermidis. Compound 1 inhibited a S. aureus strain carrying the G196A mutation in FtsZ, which confers resistance to PC190723. Like PC190723, Compound 1 acted on whole bacterial cells by blocking cytokinesis. No interactions between Compound 1 and a diverse panel of antibiotics were measured in checkerboard experiments. Compound 1 displayed suitable in vitro pharmaceutical properties and a favorable in vivo pharmacokinetic profile following intravenous and oral administration, with a calculated bioavailability of 82.0% in mice. Compound 1 demonstrated efficacy in the murine S. aureus systemic model of infection and caused a significant decrease in bacterial load in the thigh infection model. A greater reduction in the number of S. aureus cells recovered from infected thighs, equivalent to 3.68 log versus controls, was achieved using a succinate pro-drug of Compound 1, designated Compound 2. In summary, optimized derivatives of 3-methoxybenzamide may yield a first-in-class FtsZ inhibitor for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant staphylococcal infections.



  • Honorary appointment at the University of Birmingham

    Abgentis' founder Lloyd Czaplewski has been appointed as an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the School of Immunity & Infection within the College of Medical & Dental Sciences at the University of Birmingham, U.K.

    Recently Dr Czaplewski located Abgentis Limited, the antibiotic re-engineering Company, at the University of Birmingham Research Park. This Honorary position will provide exciting opportunities to develop collaborative projects that build on the excellent platforms developed by Abgentis and on Birmingham's world-leading research and increasingly translational focus on microbiology and infection.




    A company creating new treatments for life-threatening and drug-resistant bacterial infections has received a cash injection from Midven’s Early Advantage Fund.

    Abgentis, based at the Birmingham Research Park, will receive £75,000 from the Fund in up to three milestone-driven tranches to establish proof of concept.

    The company is working to modify the antibiotic compound novobiocin, originally used to treat infections in the 1960s but which was replaced by drugs that were more competitive at the time.

    “Now, however, the clinical landscape has changed,” said Lloyd Czaplewski, who founded Abgentis. “There is resistance to these replacements and more recent clinical evaluation of novobiocin in oncology confirms that it is well tolerated in man.”

    He said that new scientific insights into how novobiocin works provided an opportunity to re-engineer the drug to create a new and valuable antibiotic therapy. “Antibiotics have been a low priority for development over the last decade but the clinical need is increasing with wide-spread drug-resistance, an ageing population and new markets in developing countries,” said Dr Czaplewski.

    The £75,000 comes through Midven’s Early Advantage Fund, which provides investment for small, high growth businesses at start-up and early stage in the West Midlands, and has already helped secure additional private investment for the company, which plans to raise further funding this autumn. A business angel has also invested in this round.

    The money will be used to generate a package of pre-clinical proof-of-concept information to support the licensing of the programme to established pharmaceutical companies.

    Dr Andrew Muir, a director of Midven and investment director of the Early Advantage Fund who has joined the Board of Abgentis said: “Lloyd has an excellent understanding of the technology and needs in the field of novel antibacterials and our funding will enable the company to validate its novel approach”

    Professor Lawrence Young, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of College of Medical Sciences at the University of Birmingham commented “The University of Birmingham is very pleased to be hosting Abgentis on the Birmingham Research Park. This will provide exciting opportunities to develop collaborative projects that build on the excellent platforms developed by Abgentis and on our world-leading research on microbiology and infection”.

    About Midven Limited/Early Advantage

    Midven Limited is a privately owned commercial venture capital fund manager with a successful track record of investing in and exiting from small and medium-sized enterprises in the Midlands. Midven manages five funds representing £61m under management. The funds have invested in a wide variety of sectors, including software, biotechnology, healthcare, engineering, manufacturing and distribution. Midven’s £8m Early Advantage fund provides investment for small, high growth businesses at start-up and early-stage in the West Midlands.

    For more information contact:

    Mark Whitehouse, Clarke Associates – Telephone: 01564 826653

    Dr Andrew Muir, Midven Limited – Telephone: 0121 710 1990

    Dr Lloyd Czaplewski, Abgentis Limited – Telephone: 07836 554231



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