Bicycle Therapeutics

British biotech firm Bicycle Therapeutics is set to develop a new class of antibacterial agents to tackle the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) with a £496,000 government grant.

Bicycle Therapeutics is based in Cambridge where it will use its proprietary screening platform to find novel inhibitors of Penicillin Binding Proteins (PBPs).

AMR has developed over decades of antibiotic misuse and overprescribing and as a result certain diseases such as tuberculosis, and Staphylococcus aureus are becoming resistant to the drugs due to bacteria evolving.

Without fully functioning antimicrobial agents, many medical practices such as routine surgery, transplants and even chemotherapy will become less safe with minor infections even leading to death.

The grant itself comes from The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) which awards companies that identify new ideas and technologies which address current and future NHS challenges.

The Department of Health recently announced a five-year plan to target AMR, along with commitments to trial reimbursment mechanisms so that there is greater incentive for pharma companies to address antibiotic resistance.

Kevin Lee, chief executive at Bicycle Therapeutics, said: “Bicycle’s unique and versatile technology is well-suited to creating a new class of antibacterial agents to address widespread antibiotic resistance, and we are honoured to receive this funding from SBRI Healthcare.”

In previous years, Bicycle’s main focus was in oncology where the company has been developing targeted cytotoxics, aimed at developing new cancer immunotherapies to harness innate immune activators and T-cell modulators.