CARB-X IS FUNDING PHICO THERAPEUTICS TO DEVELOP AN ENGINEERED BACTERIOPHAGE DRUG TO TREAT VENTILATOR-ASSOCIATED PNEUMONIA CAUSED BY DRUG-RESISTANT PSEUDOMONAS AERUGINOSA
CARB-X is funding Phico Therapeutics, in Cambridge, UK, to develop a new intravenous engineered bacteriophage drug to treat ventilator-associated pneumonia caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a serious problem in hospitals, intensive-care units and health-care settings. P. aeruginosa is one of the top three antibiotic-resistant bacteria listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as ‘priority pathogens’ posing the greatest threat to human health.
The CARB-X award provides up to $5.3 million to support preclinical development of Phico’s SASPject PT3.9 project, plus up to $12.86 million more if the project progresses successfully through safety to Phase 1 first-in-human clinical studies, subject to available funding.
Phico’s SASPject technology is ground-breaking in that it uses engineered bacterial viruses (bacteriophages) combined with antibacterial small acid-soluble spore proteins (SASPs) to precisely target the P. aeruginosa bacteria and inactivate the bacteria’s DNA, stopping them from reproducing and spreading. Additionally, SASPs are unaffected by the sequence of bacterial DNA, making it unlikely that bacteria could develop resistance, and are therefore effective against multidrug-resistant bacteria.
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