This is Polyphor’s second innovative antibiotic program to be funded by CARB-X
(BOSTON: October 14, 2020) – CARB-X announced today it is awarding up to US$2.62 million to Polyphor AG (SIX:POLN), headquartered in Allschwil, Switzerland, to develop a new antibiotic to treat serious Enterobacteriaceae Gram-negative bacterial infections, including those caused by life-threatening carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). Polyphor will be eligible for an additional $15.82 million in funding from CARB-X if project milestones are met, subject to available funds, for a total of $18.44 million.
This is the second antibiotic program under development by Polyphor to win funding and support from CARB-X, a global non-profit partnership led by Boston University dedicated to accelerate the development of new therapeutics, preventatives and diagnostics to address drug-resistant bacteria. The Polyphor program, a novel thanatin-derivative belonging to the new Outer Membrane Protein Targeting Antibiotic (OMPTA) class of antibiotics, aims to treat life-threatening infections caused by difficult-to-treat bacteria identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) as an urgent and top-priority health threat.
“Serious infections are a global health threat, due in part to the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria for which we do not have therapies,” said Erin Duffy, R&D Chief of CARB-X. “Polyphor’s project enriches the pool of novel approaches to deliver a therapeutic that can treat infections caused by multidrug-resistant Gram-negative pathogens, for which only one new class since 1962 has been approved for use in patients. It is in the early stages of development, and if successful and approved, it could potentially change the way these life-threatening infections are treated and save lives.”
Enterobacteriaceae are a large family of different types of bacteria that commonly cause infections, including urinary tract infections and pneumonia, in healthcare settings. Examples include Escherichia coli (E. coli), Klebsiella pneumoniae and others resistant to nearly all antibiotics.
The novel thanatin-derivative antibiotics discovered by Polyphor and the University of Zurich aim to break down the outer membrane of the bacteria, which serves as protective armor against the effects of antibiotics. Specifically, the antibiotic works on a novel target, an essential transport mechanism used by Gram-negative bacteria called the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) transport protein A (LptA). This class of antibiotics shows potent and specific antimicrobial activity against Enterobacteriaceae, including extremely drug-resistant strains.
“CARB-X fosters the best science and most promising early development R&D projects in the world. This award provides further support to our research efforts in progressing a new class of antibiotics to combat antimicrobial resistance, one of the greatest global challenges for healthcare,” said Gokhan Batur, Chief Executive Officer of Polyphor. “This second award is a strong validation of our innovative antibiotic platform and an important milestone in the implementation of our renewed strategy in this field presented earlier this year, and we would like to thank CARB-X for their ongoing trust and support.”
New approaches urgently needed to address drug-resistant bacteria
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 700,000 people die each year from drug-resistant infections, including 35,000 in the US and 33,000 in Europe. CARB-X funds only projects that target drug-resistant bacteria highlighted on the CDC’s Antibiotic Resistant Threats list, or the Priority Bacterial Pathogens list published by the WHO, with a priority on those pathogens deemed Serious or Urgent on the CDC list or Critical or High on the WHO list.
CARB-X currently funds and supports 44 active projects focused exclusively on drug-resistant bacteria. CARB-X is investing up to $480 million in non-dilutive funding between 2016-2022 to support the early development of new therapeutics, preventatives and rapid diagnostics. The goal is to support projects through the early phases of development through Phase 1 so that they will attract additional private or public support for further clinical development and regulatory approval for use in patients.
Since its launch in 2016, CARB-X has announced 70 awards worth $252.7 million, with the potential of additional funds if project milestones are met. These funds are in addition to investments made by the companies themselves. The CARB-X pipeline will continuously evolve, as projects progress and others fail for a variety of reasons.
This news release is supported by the Cooperative Agreement Number IDSEP160030 from ASPR/BARDA and by awards from Wellcome Trust and Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the HHS Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, or other CARB-X funders.
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Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X) is a global non-profit partnership dedicated to accelerating early development antibacterial R&D to address the rising global threat of drug-resistant bacteria. CARB-X is led by Boston University and funding is provided by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Wellcome Trust, a global charity based in the UK working to improve health globally, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the UK Department of Health and Social Care’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund (GAMRIF), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with in-kind support from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). CARB-X is investing up to $480 million from 2016-2022 to support innovative antibiotics and other therapeutics, vaccines and other prevention approaches, and rapid diagnostics. CARB-X supports the world’s largest and most innovative pipeline of preclinical products against drug-resistant infections. CARB-X is headquartered at Boston University School of Law. carb-x.org/. Follow us on Twitter @CARB_X.
Polyphor is a research-driven clinical-stage, Swiss biopharmaceutical company committed to discovering and developing best-in-class molecules in oncology and antimicrobial resistance leveraging the company’s leading macrocyclic peptide technology platform. Polyphor is advancing balixafortide (POL6326) in a Phase III trial in combination with eribulin in patients with advanced breast cancer and exploring its potential in other cancer indications. In addition, it has discovered and is developing the Outer Membrane Protein Targeting Antibiotics (OMPTA). OMPTA are potentially the first new class of antibiotics in clinical development in the last 50 years against Gram-negative bacteria. The company’s lead OMPTA program is an inhaled formulation of murepavadin for the treatment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in patients with cystic fibrosis. Polyphor is based in Allschwil near Basel and is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (SIX: POLN). For more information, please visit www.polyphor.com.
About BARDA and NIAID
The US Department of Health and Human Services works to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans, providing for effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services. Within HHS, ASPR’s mission is to save lives and protect Americans from 21st century health security threats. ASPR leads the nation’s medical and public health preparedness for, response to, and recovery from disasters and public health emergencies. BARDA provides a comprehensive, integrated, portfolio approach to the advanced research and development, innovation, acquisition, and manufacturing of medical countermeasures – vaccines, drugs, therapeutics, diagnostic tools, and non-pharmaceutical products for public health emergency threats. These threats include chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents, pandemic influenza, and emerging infectious diseases. NIH is the primary US federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. NIAID conducts and supports research — at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide — to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses.
About Wellcome Trust
Wellcome exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. We’re a global charitable foundation, both politically and financially independent. We support scientists and researchers, take on big problems, fuel imaginations and spark debate. The Wellcome Trust is a charity registered in England and Wales, no. 210183. Its sole trustee is The Wellcome Trust Limited, a company registered in England and Wales, no. 2711000 (whose registered office is at 215 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, UK).
Education and research are the foundations for our future. The promotion of education, science and research by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) represents an important contribution to securing Germany’s prosperity. Education and research are a Federal Government policy priority, which is reflected in the development of the funding it is making available to these fields.
About Boston University
Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research. With more than 33,000 students, it is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States. BU consists of 17 schools and colleges, along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes integral to the University’s research and teaching mission. In 2012, BU joined the Association of American Universities (AAU), a consortium of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada. For further information, please contact Jeremy Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org. www.bu.edu.