By Kristy Dorsey

MGB Biopharma, the life sciences company based in Glasgow, is looking for support to advance its lead drug candidate following a 100% success rate in combating a life-threatening intestinal infection during stage two clinical trials.

Chief executive Miroslav Ravic said the pre-revenue company will need up to £40 million to take MGB-BP-3 through stage three clinical trials, which would involve following the progress of about 700 patients over a two-year period. MGB-BP-3 is being tested in the treatment of Clostridium difficile Infection (CDI), which affects the large intestine and is the most frequent cause of diarrhoea in hospitals and care homes.

The phase two study was conduced on 35 patients in the US and Canada, and was designed to determine the optimum dose of the product. At a 250mg twice a day, the drug has an initial cure and sustained cure rate of 100%.

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“We were very happy that we were able to find the exact balance to achieve that,” Mr Ravic said.

The company believes MGB-BP-3 has the potential to become the new “gold standard” in the treatment of CDI, which infects nearly 500,000 people every year in the US, leading to approximately 30,000 deaths.

“As the recent Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated, the world urgently needs new anti-infective treatments so we can be better prepared for new threats,” he added. “MGB-BP-3 would bring a new, vastly improved paradigm to the treatment of CDI which would reduce the morbidity and mortality caused by this dreadful infection.”

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The start of phase three trials will depend on securing either fresh funding or a development partner to help finance the costs. “We are working quite a lot on both aspects,” Mr Ravic said, “but there is nothing concrete as yet.”

Set up in 2010, the company’s work is based on the proprietary minor groove binder (MGB) platform developed at the University of Strathclyde. MGB Biopharma has the exclusive world-wide licensing rights to this for all anti-infective fields.

To date, the company has been backed by Scottish investors including Archangels, Barwell, TRI Cap, Syndicate Room and the Scottish Investment Bank. It has also received support for its clinical programme from Innovate UK.