Xiretsa wins INCATE stage II funding: Boosting a new class of antibiotics


The INCubator for Antibacterial Therapies in Europe, INCATE, aims to support innovators in the early stages of developing therapies in the field of antimicrobial resistance. The German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) is one of INCATE's founding members. Xiretsa, Inc is the second selected venture to receive INCATEs Stage II Funding. The €250k grant will allow the team to accelerate hit-to-lead activities and secure space at California NanoSystems Institute Technology Incubator on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Since being selected for Stage I in March 2023, the Xiretsa team has refined their development strategy and was accepted into the Chemistry Center for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (CC4CARB) programme. Together with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in the USA, the team has initiated a new effort focused on Klebsiella pneumoniae lung and wound infections with promising preliminary results.

The INCATE Selection Committee was convinced not only by the dynamic team, but also by the fact that their core technology represents a new class of molecules targeting a unique mechanism of action which shows a low likelihood of resistance development. The team is working with multiple non-dilutive funding sources to de-risk the project.

The Xiretsa team is spread across the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the University of California, Santa Barbara, where the technology originates from. They first came to the attention of INCATE in October 2022 and after working with the INCATE management team they applied for Stage I funding in Q1 2023. Since receiving Stage I, the team has been able to get support through CC4CARB, NIH NIAID, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and continued research collaborations, including the Kickstart Initiative from the NUS Medical School, to understand the mechanism of action and activity across a broad range of pathogens.

“INCATE Stage I allowed us to refine our development strategy en route to commercialising our novel antibiotic platform,” said Prof. Guillermo Bazan, co-founder of Xiretsa, in whose lab the core technology was conceived.

“Stage II will provide essential resources to complete our spin-out and achieve critical technical milestones,” added Kaixi Zhang, the company’s CSO. “The Xiretsa team is honoured to receive this award and excited to continue working with INCATE towards our mutual goal of fighting AMR,” said Alex Moreland, Xiretsa interim CEO.

“The new ACE class of molecules developed by Xiretsa has the potential to deliver a potent new family of antibiotic small molecules that is absolutely worth exploring”, says Jean-Pierre Paccaud, member of the INCATE Selection Committee.

“The financial contribution to Xiretsa illustrates how INCATE intends to foster pioneering approaches to fight AMR. INCATE can provide guidance and support in strengthening the company and also highlighting potential challenges in development and helping to clarify them.”

This non-dilutive investment and ongoing advice from INCATE will help Xiretsa to mature their technology and strategy, expand the team and begin independent operations.

About Xiretsa

Xiretsa is a biotechnology company developing novel membrane-remodelling small molecule antibiotics that evade resistance to address the greatest Gram-negative, Gram-positive, and Mycobacterial threats. The company is dedicated to tailoring its proprietary molecular platform to meet critical unmet needs in infectious disease therapy.


INCATE is a not-for-profit partnership which brings together translational and basic research, industry, experienced entrepreneurs and investors from across Europe and beyond. The German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), the research association InfectControl in Germany, the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research AntiResist, the University of Basel and the Leibniz-HKI are the academic founding members of INCATE, with the University of Basel as virtual host. Together with the four industry partners Boehringer Ingelheim, Roche, Shionogi and MSD as well as other organisations, funders and investors, INCATE want to ensure that the pipeline of new antibiotics and diagnostics is filled and strengthened.

Source: INCATE press release