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Atox Bio raises $23 million to fund flesh-eating bacteria treatment

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Israel-based Atox Bio, a developer of therapeutics for severe infections, said on Thursday it has raised $23 million in an investment round led by SR One, the healthcare venture capital fund of GlaxoSmithKline.

Lundbeck's Lundbeckfond Ventures and OrbiMed Israel also invested.

The funds will enable Atox Bio to initiate a late stage clinical study of AB103, for the treatment of necrotizing soft tissue infections (NSTI), commonly referred to as the "flesh eating bacteria" and other severe infections. The study is expected to start in the second half of 2015.

AB103, an immunomodulator licensed from Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University In Jerusalem, is a peptide that offers a unique approach in the treatment of infectious diseases by modulating, but not inhibiting, the host immune system.

This approach precludes the rapid generation of drug resistance, the company said.

AB103 completed a Phase 2 study in patients with NSTI.

"The results demonstrated that patients treated with AB103 had a meaningful improvement across multiple end points," Atox Bio said.

AB103 is the first product specifically developed for NSTI and has received orphan drug status and fast track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"If approved, this treatment could help thousands of patients each year who suffer the debilitating consequences of NSTI," said Matthew Foy, partner at SR One.

(Reporting by Tova Cohen)

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