NIH has awarded a group of researchers $2.87 million for preclinical development of an oral drug to treat C. difficile and Shigella.

The consortium is led by Brigham Young University (BYU) and includes SRI International, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), and McMaster University. CSA-13 is based on Ceragenin™ technology, which is a class of antimicrobial compounds that mimic functions of the body’s own innate immune system.

The technology was invented by Paul B. Savage, Ph.D., Reed Izatt professor at BYU, and was exclusively licensed to Ceragenix. The company is using the Ceragenin platform to formulate Cerashield™ antimicrobial coatings for medical devices. In March the firm reported that the NIH had granted the University of Utah $1.66 million to evaluate a Cerashield coating to reduce orthopedic implant infections.

“We are very pleased that the NIH sees potential in our technology as an oral drug to treat these dangerous infections,” says Steve Porter, chairman and CEO of Ceragenix. “We believe that the NIH funded research activities will be synergistic with our development efforts on antimicrobial medical device coatings.”