Galapagos says it has begun clinical development on a compound from a novel class of antibiotics.

The Belgian company has selected a candidate that shows "strong activity against all tested drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus, including hospital and community acquired MRSA strains". The antibiotic, called CAM-1, works by inhibiting the target DNA pol III alpha, an enzyme present in all bacteria and essential for their growth.

Galapagos notes that CAM-1 was tested against more than 250 different bacterial strains and effectively killed 100% of all drug resistant Staph. aureus, including MRSA. It has also shown better efficacy than standard antibiotics, "as shown by in vivo bacterial infection models".

Galapagos aims to put CAM-1 in the clinic in the first quarter of 2014, Chief scientific officer Piet Wigerink said that selection of a candidate "is an important step toward realising the full potential of our unique anti- bacterial programme".

He added that "our antibiotics have a novel mode of action which brings all tested MRSA strains to a complete halt. Combined with a diagnostic test, these compounds could bring a real solution to MRSA infections".