A Blacksburg biotech firm has won a $1.9 million contract to help fight bacteria that is resistant to multiple drugs and is infecting a growing number of hospital patients.
Techulon Inc. received the award from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, an arm of the U.S. Department of Defense, the company announced this week.
The funding will allow Techulon to continue its work toward developing a drug to combat multi-drug-resistant bacteria.
Known as “superbugs,” the bacteria are showing up in patients at hospitals and nursing homes, causing 100,000 deaths a year and more than $30 billion in medical costs, the company said.
“It is a problem that’s creeping more and more into hospital emergency rooms across the country,” said Josh Bryson, chief scientific officer at Techulon.
Over the next two years, scientists at Techulon will work to develop a drug they hope to eventually use in human clinical trials.
Although the goal is to put the technology to use at veterans’ hospitals, Bryson said it will also benefit civilian patients.