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Galapagos tests new antibiotics for resistant bacteria

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgian biotechnology group Galapagos is testing a new class of antibiotics that could be used to combat bacteria that have become resistant to other forms of medication.

The group said on Monday that in laboratory tests its new candidate drug, CAM 1, showed better results than traditional antibiotics against the MRSA bacteria that can cause life-threatening infections, particularly for hospital patients.

Galapagos shares rose as much as 7 percent in early trading on Monday, adding to their 51 percent increase since the start of 2012.

The group, which has a series of drug development alliances with large pharmaceutical groups, signed a deal for its flagship arthritis drug GLPG634 with U.S. group Abbott Laboratories worth up to $1.35 billion.

The group said it hoped to enter clinical tests for CAM 1, which it fully owned, in 2014.

Galapagos should then proceed with further tests and proof of concept studies by early 2015, analyst Jan De Kerpel at KBC Securities wrote in a note to clients.

"We expect in the coming weeks substantial news flow from Galapagos which should convince investors that the company is more than just GLPG634," De Kerpel said.

Scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control warned earlier this month that due to bacteria becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, patients could soon face a time when they are powerless to treat many of the most common infections.

(Reporting By Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Mike Nesbit and Philip Blenkinsop)

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