Oxford Drug Design has received over £8 million in grant and equity investment from CARB-X, the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and o2h Ventures.

The funding will help to develop new antibiotics effective against drug-resistant superbugs, and to expand Oxford Drug Design’s proprietary machine learning computational platform - the Dual-Target aminoacyl-tRNA Synthetase inhibitor (DaaRSi) project.

The research is important as drug-resistant superbugs are on the rise worldwide and represent a threat to global public health and health security.

According to the World Health Organisation, an estimated 700,000 people die each year worldwide from bacterial infections. In the United States, an estimated 23,000 people die each year from drug-resistant bacterial infections. In Europe, the number of deaths yearly is estimated at 33,000.

Oxford Drug Design CEO, Paul Finn, said that “To win these two highly competitive awards is a remarkable success and a tremendous validation of the strength of our science and its potential to deliver a new antibiotic to treat drug resistant bacterial infections.

The funding provided by DHSC and CARB-X will significantly accelerate the development of our series of aminoacyl tRNA synthetase inhibitors.

We are also delighted to be supported by o2h Ventures, who have been instrumental to the success of the equity funding round. Multiple compound series have been identified with the aid of our innovative cheminformatics and machine learning technologies. These compounds represent new classes of antibiotics with activity against Gram-negative organisms, an area of critical unmet medical need for which the clinical development pipeline is very limited.”