The organisation leading UK efforts to tackle the health crisis around our dwindling supply of effective antibiotics is broadening its focus to include infectious disease – and has today unveiled a new identity.

Infex Therapeutics, formerly The AMR Centre, is taking its proven drug development model to target a wider range of World Health Organisation critical-priority viral and microbial infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

Operating from its base at Alderley Park in north-west England, Infex Therapeutics will exploit a transferable set of skills, expertise and capability in the wider infectious disease sector. The company is already progressing a portfolio of new drugs, including an anti-virulence program, COT-143, through an agreement with the Japanese pharma company Shionogi. The therapy is designed to help tackle Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections, a hard to treat drug-resistant pathogen that features in non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis and other lung diseases.

Executive director Peter Jackson said: “We are building critical mass as a clinical development organisation and have identified new pipeline of opportunities across the wider infectious disease sector. The launch of Infex Therapeutics gives us a clearer identity and a better reflection of our business model. Our focus is on developing clinical stage drugs to treat infectious diseases.

“Our team has proven capability and expertise in the acquisition and development of a new generation of therapies to meet the rising burden of critical priority infections to address unmet patient needs. We will identify and acquire promising technologies then deliver assets with compelling target product profiles that are attractive to out-license to major pharmaceutical companies.

“More importantly, we will be bringing a new portfolio of drugs into clinical trials to treat patients suffering from life-threatening critical-priority infections.”

Infex Therapeutics starts out with a portfolio of innovative drugs in development and an exciting pipeline of new opportunities across a range of diseases and pathogens. It has over £10m of partner revenues and non-dilutive grants already contracted over the next three years with more in the pipeline. These projects include a co-development agreement with a US biotech partner on a new gonorrhoea drug.