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HKI and partners advance novel antibiotic against tuberculosis from lab to clinical studies

Phase I study initiated with candidate against multidrug-resistant germs 

6 June 2018, Munich – The Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology – Hans-Knoell-Institute (HKI) together with the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) have brought a novel compound discovered at the HKI all the way from basic research to clinical studies. Following approval from the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM), the partners have initiated a Phase I clinical trial to investigate the candidate’s safety in healthy volunteers at low, escalating doses.

With a new and unique mode of action, the drug candidate, called BTZ043, has strong potential to combat tuberculosis caused by multidrug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

According to the WHO, tuberculosis (TB) is still one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide, and multidrug-resistant TB remains a severe health security threat – even in Europe. Although Europe’s TB burden is one of the lowest in the world, the number of multidrug-resistant cases is highest.

Ascenion, the HKI’s technology transfer partner, has managed all IP-relevant aspects of the project throughout the years and helped structure all partnership agreements.

‘We congratulate HKI and LMU for achieving this significant translational milestone. Their work holds strong potential for millions of people around the world,’ Christian Stein, CEO of Ascenion comments. ‘It is a remarkable success that they have managed to advance a first-in-class compound all the way from discovery to clinical trials in an academic setting, largely funded by public grants. This may become a model project for getting other novel antibiotics against multidrug-resistant infections off the ground.’ 

The project has been supported by the Consortium InfectControl 2020 and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF). Production and clinical research partners are Hapila GmbH and Nuvisan GmbH.

For scientific details and further information see the HKI’s press release (only in German) at: www.leibniz-hki.de




About Ascenion

Ascenion is an independent technology transfer company focussing on the life sciences. It is partner to over 30 research organizations, universities and university hospitals in Germany and Europe, including life-science institutes of the Helmholtz and Leibniz Associations, the Charité, Hannover Medical School, the Medical University of Innsbruck and the University Medical Center Göttingen. Ascenion’s multidisciplinary, industry-experienced team works closely with its partners to tap the potential of their research by identifying promising results, obtaining patent protection, and turning pure science into applied technology. Particular strengths are spin-off support and project development, where early-stage projects are transformed into assets that attract potential investors and licensees. This has led to the founding of numerous new companies and the transfer of innovative medical approaches into approved drugs, changing the lives of thousands of patients. Profits from Ascenion’s operative business and exit proceeds flow via its parent company, the LifeScience Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Research, to fund further translational research at its partner institutes.

Ascenion has also initiated the pan European showcasing event BioVaria to stimulate deal making and early collaboration between Europe’s academia and the global life-sciences industry.

Further information at:  www.ascenion.de


Dr Susanne Letzelter, Corporate Development, Ascenion GmbH
+49 89 3188140

Ascenion GmbH, Herzogstr. 64, 80803 München