News

CARB-X is funding SNIPR BIOME to develop a CRISPR-engineered drug to eradicate Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria in cancer patients to prevent deadly infections

CARB-X is funding SNIPR BIOME to develop a CRISPR-engineered drug to eradicate Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria in cancer patients to prevent deadly infections

SNIPR BIOME’s innovative precision therapy would target E. coli bacteria in patients with hematological malignancies, without harming beneficial bacteria in the microbiome  

SNIPR is the first Danish product developer to receive CARB-X funding  

(BOSTON) – CARB-X is awarding SNIPR BIOME ApS, a CRISPR- and microbiome-biotechnology company in Copenhagen, Denmark, up to US $3.9 million to develop an innovative new drug to prevent E. coli infections in cancer patients, which can be life-threatening. Under the award, SNIPR BIOME may be eligible for up to $6.3 million in additional funds from CARB-X if the project achieves certain milestones, subject to available funds.

SNIPR’s new lead candidate drug, SNIPR001, is in development for the prevention of infections in cancer patients with hematological malignancies, which are cancers that affect the blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes. These patients are at increased risk of bloodstream infections due both to the disease and to chemotherapy treatment, with the pathogen E. coli posing a heightened risk. 

“There is an urgent need for new drugs to prevent and treat drug-resistant bacterial infections, which can be life-threatening, particularly for patients with immune systems that have been weakened by disease or treatments like chemotherapy,” said Erin Duffy, Chief of R&D at CARB-X, a non-profit global partnership led by Boston University, dedicated to supporting the development of innovative therapeutics, preventatives and diagnostics to address antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. “SNIPR has developed an innovative approach to precisely target bacteria like E. coli to prevent infections, without harming the beneficial bacteria in the patient’s microbiome. Not only does this have the potential to save lives, but also it is antibiotic-sparing, which reduces the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

“We believe our technology holds a huge potential in designing tomorrow’s CRISPR-based medicines to treat life-threatening infections and fighting the global emerging antimicrobial resistance crisis. The solid expertise provided by CARB-X beyond the financial contributions will help us develop our company and organisation,” says Dr. Christian Grøndahl, Co-founder & CEO of SNIPR BIOME, the first Danish company to receive a CARB-X award. “We are grateful and excited about the collaboration with CARB-X. The collaboration is an important validation of our company and the CRISPR technology platform we have been building over the past years.”

SNIPR BIOME is pioneering a novel use of CRISPR/Cas technology to selectively eradicate target bacteria based on specific DNA sequence signatures in the bacterial genome, while leaving the rest of the patient’s microbiome intact. SNIPR001 would target only E. coli bacteria in the gut, preventing the translocation of the bacteria to the bloodstream and sparing the beneficial bacteria in the patient’s microbiome. This precision approach to killing harmful bacteria could transform the way E. coli infections are prevented and treated. Today, cancer patients are often pre-emptively given broad-spectrum antibiotics designed to kill bacteria indiscriminately.

“There is an increasing awareness of the importance for human health of microbial diseases and anti-microbial resistance. We see that SNIPR001 has the potential to contribute to addressing unmet medical needs in a novel way in people at high risk of severe E. coli infections, and we look forward to working with CARB-X in bringing SNIPR001 into clinical trials.” said Dr. Milan Zdravkovic, Chief Medical Officer and Head of R&D at SNIPR BIOME.

The SNIPR001 project is in the preclinical stage of development.  If the initial CARB-X-supported activities are positive, then a first-in-human study is planned to commence in the first half of 2022. The clinical trial will be investigating safety and tolerability and will demonstrate technical proof of mechanism in healthy subjects and patients with hematological malignancy at risk of getting a bloodstream infection caused by E. coli.

Supporting global innovation to address antibiotic resistance

The CARB-X portfolio is the world’s largest and most diverse antibacterial R&D portfolio with 60 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 antibiotics, vaccines, rapid diagnostics and other life-saving products. The goal is to support projects through the early phases of development 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 90 awards to product developers in 12 countries. The awards are worth more than $337.5 million, with the potential of additional funds if project milestones are met. These funds are in addition to investments made by the companies themselves.

Each year, an estimated 700,000 people die each year from antibiotic-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 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 funding for this research is supported by the Cooperative Agreement Number IDSEP160030 from ASPR/BARDA and by an award from the Wellcome Trust. The contents of this news release are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, or other CARB-X funders.

Contacts:

CARB-X
Jennifer Robinson
carbxpr@bu.edu

SNIPR BIOME
Dr. Christian Grøndahl, Co-founder & CEO
+45 20202747 (mobile)
cg@sniprbiome.com 

About CARB-X
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 Office of the Assistant Secretary for 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, and 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 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. 

About SNIPR BIOME
SNIPR BIOME is a leading CRISPR and microbiome biotech company incorporated in Copenhagen, Denmark. SNIPR BIOME is engaged in the discovery and development of CRISPR/Cas-based drugs deploying its proprietary and patent-protected CRISPR/Cas platform. The company applies its CRISPR technologies to selectively target microbial pathogens and remodelling the microbiome to address important unmet medical needs. SNIPR BIOME is pioneering a novel use of CRISPR/Cas technology to selectively and precisely eradicate target bacteria, while leaving the rest of the patient’s microbial community intact. In March 2019, SNIPR BIOME closed a $50 million Series A financing by Lundbeckfonden Emerge (Copenhagen), Life Sciences Partners (Amsterdam), North-East Family Office (Copenhagen) and Wellington Partners (Munich). www.sniprbiome.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).

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 jeremy22@bu.edu. www.bu.edu.