Startup Raises $23m for Flesh-eating Bacteria Drug

The proceeds will be used for a late-stage clinical study for treating what is commonly known as 'flesh-eating bacteria' and other severe infections.

Atox Bio, a biotech startup that traces its origins to Hebrew University, said yesterday it has raised $23 million from an investment group led by SR One, the venture capital arm of the British drug company GlaxoSmithKline.

Lundbeckfond Ventures of the Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck and the venture capital fund OrbiMed Israel also invested.

The proceeds will be used for a late-stage clinical study of Atox Bio’s AB103 for treating what researchers call necrotizing soft tissue infections but is commonly known as the “flesh-eating bacteria” and other severe infections.

AB103, an immunomodulator licensed from Yissum, the university’s technology transfer company, is a peptide that offers a unique approach to the treatment of infectious diseases.

AB103, the first product specifically developed for NSTI, has received orphan drug status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Atox Bio was founded by two Hebrew University researchers, Raymond Kaempfer, who is now the company’s chief scientist, and Gila Arad. Until today, it had raised $20 million – $8 million from investors and $12 million from the U.S. government and army.