Destiny Pharma, the Brighton-based firm which specialises in microbial drugs, has recently secured £4.8 million of extra funding.

The new round of investment, led by exisiting shareholder Longbow Capital, comes after the company announced results in April from what Destiny says is the world’s longest drug resistance bacterial study to date. The firm’s lead compound, XF-73, was tested over 55 passages against five of the world’s most virulent strains of MRSA.

Destiny notes that none of the five strains developed resistance to XF-73, compared to a 2,000-fold increase in resistance to the topical antibiotic fusilic acid in the study. The compound, which is in Phase I trials, is contained in a tiny amount of gel which is placed inside the nostril.

Destiny non-executive director Howard Matthews said that the funding is an endorsement of the company’s commercial potential, noting that “given the financial climate this investment is a poignant reflection of the urgent need for effective drug for MRSA”. A drug that could prevent infections without generating resistance “would save health services money as well as lives”, he added, saying that the cost of treating healthcare-associated infections in the USA alone is $30 billion a year”.

As for the backers, Edward Rudd, founding partner of Longbow, said the group is delighted with
the progress made by Destiny Pharma since its initial investment in 2005 “and continue to believe that investors will achieve significant returns…once licensing arrangements can be secured for its exciting technology”.