Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Saarbrücken, Germany
ELASTASE (LasB) INHIBITORS
P. aeruginosa infections in CF patients
A HIPS research team is developing an innovative treatment for Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in cystic fibrosis patients. The new treatment – indirect-acting small-molecule inhibitors of Elastase (LasB) – aims to disarm the pathogens and suppress the disease-causing properties of P. aeruginosa bacteria, instead of killing the bacteria as an antibiotic would aim to do. The research team is led by Professor Anna Hirsch, head of Drug Design and Optimization at HIPS, which is part of Germany’s prestigious Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in collaboration with Saarland University. The team is also collaborating with partners at the Paris-based INSERM institute, as well as the HZI in Braunschweig. Professor Hirsch’s ‘pathoblocker’ approach of disarming the P. aeruginosa bacteria could significantly slow the development of resistance in the bacteria. Professor Hirsch and her team hope their approach could improve the life expectancy and quality of life of cystic fibrosis patients infected with P. aeruginosa. Patients with cystic fibrosis suffer from severe cough and lack of oxygen. Their lungs accumulate thick mucus, making it easy for pathogens like P. aeruginosa to lodge and reproduce. The result is a chronic inflammation of the lung, eventually leading to the degradation of lung tissue. The situation becomes particularly critical when the disease-causing germs become resistant against the applied antibiotics.
Current Development Stage: Hit-to-lead
CARB-X Investment: Initial investment of up to $1.75m, with potential option payments up to $6.31m.
Initial CARB-X Investment Date: October 1, 2020