AMR Action Fund, a bacterial resistance-themed investment vehicle armed with $1 billion to spend, has backed a series C round for BioVersys, a developer of antimicrobial products based out of Basel, Switzerland.
BioVersys's series C has now raised funds totalling 32.6 million Swiss francs (€33 million) after BioVersys's CHF 8.4 million contribution. The first CHF 24.2 million tranche was raised last June from "existing and new investors".
The startup's research pipeline consists of three antimicrobial candidates. One is a possible remedy for the infamous and highly deadly infection Staphylococcus aureus.
Sometimes known as MRSA, certain strains of S.aureus can resist treatment with the known antibiotic methicillin. Such gram-positive forms of the disease resulted in 929,000 deaths globally in 2019, according to University of Oxford research, though that's without factoring in co-morbid diseases.
Hospital patients suffering from severe S.aureus symptoms could be treated by BioVersys's drug candidate, BV200, which works to limit adverse effects by eliminating the bacteria's outpour of toxins.
Aside from BV200, which is still undergoing pre-clinical testing, BioVersys is also progressing two clinical-stage assets. The series C funding is set to fund the launch of phase II clinical trials on both candidates, including its BV100 treatment for the antimicrobial-resistant bug Acinetobacter baumannii, which causes lung and blood stream infections. The World Health Organisation has identified this disease as one of the "highest-priority pathogens" in need of new treatments, BioVersys said.
The third drug treatment is a potential tuberculosis AMR drug called BV300.
Scientists have long urged societies to cut down use of antibiotics, as some of them have proven less effective over time. BioVersys says just short 1.3 million deaths were directly attributed to AMR last year.
This is the first European deal closed by Boston's AMR Action Fund, which aims to pour $1 billion into finding clinical-stage antibiotics and other AMR targets.
AMR Action Fund's CEO Henry Skinner said the deal would enhance its portfolio coverage of potential solutions to microbial resistance.
Skinner said: "With our investment in BioVersys, we continue to deliver on our mission of driving innovation and investment into small biotechs, which are responsible for the vast majority of antibiotic research and development,"
"While we will continue to invest in promising and innovative antimicrobial companies, it is important that policymakers around the world also take action and address the market failures that impede the development of new antibiotics and threaten patients everywhere."