AmpliPhi, Univeristy of Leicester partner to find C. difficile cure

AmpliPhi BioSciences Corp. and the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom announced on Thursday they are partnering to find a cure for serious gastrointestinal infection Clostridum difficile.

Under a collaboration and licensing agreement, AmpliPhi will provide financial support to the team of University of Leicester Researcher Dr. Martha Clokie to treat the antiobiotic-resistent infections caused by C. difficile bacteria. In exchange, AmpliPhi will license patents and knowledge that result from the research.

University of Leicester researchers uncovered phages that effectively treated strains of C. difficile isolated from around the world. Evaluation of further bacteriophage therapy developments will be vetted by researchers at the University of Glasgow.

"C. difficile causes at least 14,000 deaths a year in the U.S. alone," AmpliPhi CEO Philip Young said. "We are very excited to be working with both the U.K.-based teams to continue the development of innovative bacteriophage therapies."

The infection is the most commonly acquired in a hospital setting, outnumbering MRSA and other staph infections. C. difficile causes approximately 250,000 infections in the U.S. per year and costs $1 billion to treat.