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Press Release 07-01-2016


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah—July 1, 2016—Cūrza, a privately-held small-molecule drug development company, has been awarded a Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant of $598,770, entitled, “Natural product-inspired antibacterials with unique ribosomal binding”. This SBIR grant will provide two years of support.

Antibiotic-resistant superbugs represent a global health crisis, with Gram-negative infections recognized as one of the most serious threats. This SBIR grant will help support research and development toward a new class of broad-spectrum antibiotics, with a primary focus on Gram-negative bacteria. With ever increasing reports of resistance the frontline therapies addressing Gram-negative pathogens there is a critical need for new antibiotic therapies. Despite this need, very few new therapies exist in the development pipeline of the pharmaceutical industry. Cūrza’s efforts will therefore address a very important unmet medical need.

Cūrza’s discovery and development efforts combine structure-based drug design, medicinal chemistry and biological characterization to contribute to advancing therapeutic candidates that are potent antimicrobials with high selectivity for bacterial ribosomes as compared to human and other mammalian targets. Cūrza CEO Ryan Davies said, “We are excited to receive this grant to help fund the development of our Gram-negative antibiotic program. Gram-negative antibiotic resistant infections pose a significant threat to global healthcare and Cūrza is committed to developing novel therapeutics to combat this problem”.

This two-year Phase 1 SBIR project will demonstrate proof-of-concept for Cūrza’s new class of antibiotics in models of infection. The grant funding will be used to optimize compounds through medicinal chemistry efforts in conjunction with structural biology, rigorous biological and biochemical characterization to ensure safety in humans. Dr. Chad Testa will serve as Principal Investigator.

About Cūrza—Cūrza is a Utah-based drug development company focused on developing novel therapeutics to combat antibiotic resistant bacteria. With original technology licensed from the University of Utah, Cūrza is in the early stages of developing two novel classes of antibiotics. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT with offices in Cambridge, MA, Cūrza is privately held and is backed by Clarke Capital Partners and other private investors. Visit for more information.


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