Newly discovered class of bacteriophage-derived lytic agents called ‘amurins’ aims to treat the deadliest drug-resistant Gram-negative pathogens
YONKERS, N.Y., March 04, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ContraFect Corporation (CFRX), a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of protein and antibody therapeutics for life-threatening, drug-resistant infectious diseases, today announced that the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X) has awarded the Company up to $6.94 million in non-dilutive funding to accelerate the development of its newly discovered and proprietary class of amurin peptides as potential therapeutics to treat serious and potentially life-threatening infections, including those caused by antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative ESKAPE pathogens. The company intends to progress these compounds as quickly as possible through hit-to-lead and optimization towards clinical development as potential treatments for pulmonary exacerbations of cystic fibrosis and hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia (HABP), including ventilator associated bacterial pneumonia (VABP). The award commits initial funding up to $1.75 million and ContraFect is eligible to receive an additional $5.19 million from CARB-X contingent on reaching certain project milestones.
“We are excited to have CARB-X support the development of our novel class of amurin peptides, our second program to receive CARB-X funding this year. In January, we announced the agreement which extends and increases our award to develop a novel lysin-based treatment for antibiotic-resistant P. aeruginosa,” said Steven C. Gilman, Ph.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ContraFect. “We believe our new class of phage-encoded lytic agents, or amurins, may offer a complimentary alternative to conventional antibiotics to combat resistant Gram-negative ESKAPE pathogens, which pose an enormous threat to public health worldwide. With the number of deaths due to bacterial infection approaching 700,000 worldwide, there is a tremendous need for new, more effective treatment options.”
Amurins discovered in the Company’s research laboratory exhibit potent, broad spectrum activity against all Gram-negative ESKAPE pathogens (P. aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Enterobacter cloacae, and Acinetobacter baumannii) as well as Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium in in vitro profiling studies. Amurins have also shown the ability to clear biofilms and act synergistically with a range of standard of care anti-Gram-negative antibiotics.
CARB-X is a Boston University global partnership dedicated to accelerating early development antibacterial R&D to address the rising global threat of drug-resistant bacteria. CARB-X funding is provided by US Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), the Wellcome Trust, a global charity based in the UK working to improve health globally, the UK Department of Health and Social Care’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund (UK 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). A non-profit partnership, CARB-X is investing up to $500+ million from 2016-2021 to support innovative antibiotics and other therapeutics, vaccines, rapid diagnostics and devices. CARB-X supports the world’s largest and most innovative pipeline of preclinical products against drug-resistant infections. CARB-X focuses exclusively on high priority drug-resistant bacteria, especially Gram-negatives. CARB-X is based at Boston University School of Law. https://carb-x.org/. Follow us on Twitter @CARB_X.
ContraFect is a biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing therapeutic protein and antibody products for life-threatening, drug-resistant infectious diseases, particularly those treated in hospital settings. An estimated 700,000 deaths worldwide each year are attributed to antimicrobial-resistant infections. We intend to address life threatening infections using our therapeutic product candidates from our lysin and monoclonal antibody platforms to target conserved regions of either bacteria or viruses (regions that are not prone to mutation). Lysins are a new therapeutic class of bacteriophage-derived, recombinantly produced, antimicrobial proteins with a novel mechanism of action associated with the rapid killing of target bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant strains. ContraFect’s lead lysin candidate, exebacase (CF-301) is completing a Phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of Staphylococcus aureus (Staph aureus) bacteremia, including endocarditis and is the first lysin to enter clinical studies in the U.S.
This press release contains, and our officers and representatives may make from time to time, “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the U.S. federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as “projects,” “may,” “will,” “could,” “would,” “should,” “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “intends,” “plans,” “potential,” “promise” or similar references to future periods. Examples of forward-looking statements in this release include, without limitation, statements regarding the company’s ability to discover and develop protein and antibody therapeutics for life-threatening, drug-resistant infectious diseases, whether the company will use the grant for the development of lysin therapeutics to treat serious, potentially life-threatening invasive infections caused by antibiotic-resistant P. aeruginosa, whether the company will meet requirements to receive all of the funding over the course of the next two years, whether the company can rapidly advance this program to the clinic, whether this additional funding from CARB-X is continued validation of the company’s novel lysin platform, and whether it underscores the opportunity to combat highly resistant Gram-negative pathogens, statements made regarding CARB-X, statements made regarding topline data from the Phase 2 trial, including whether it establishes clinical proof of concept for lysins as therapeutic agents, the company’s ability to address life threatening infections using its therapeutic product candidates from its lysin and monoclonal antibody platforms to target conserved regions of either bacteria or viruses, whether lysins are a new therapeutic class of bacteriophage-derived, recombinantly produced, antimicrobial proteins with a novel mechanism of action associated with the rapid killing of target bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant strains, and statements made regarding the completion of Phase 2. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts, nor assurances of future performance. Instead, they are based on ContraFect’s current beliefs, expectations and assumptions regarding the future of its business, future plans, strategies, projections, anticipated events and trends, the economy and other future conditions. Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they are subject to inherent risks, uncertainties and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond ContraFect’s control, including those detailed in ContraFect's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ include, among others, our ability to develop treatments for drug-resistant infectious diseases. Any forward-looking statement made by ContraFect in this press release is based only on information currently available and speaks only as of the date on which it is made. Except as required by applicable law, ContraFect expressly disclaims any obligations to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.
Research reported in this news release is supported by the Cooperative Agreement Number IDSEP160030 from ASPR/BARDA and by an award from Wellcome Trust, as administrated by CARB-X. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, other funders, or CARB-X.
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