SAN DIEGO, April 30, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Qpex Biopharma today announced the closing of a license agreement from Monash University providing Qpex a portfolio of next-generation polymyxin antimicrobials focused against highly drug-resistant gram-negative pathogens. The exclusive license includes worldwide rights to develop and commercialize polymyxin antimicrobials in multiple territories.
The polymyxin class of antibiotics, including the drug colistin, was first introduced into clinical use in the 1950s but was largely abandoned in later years due to toxicity and the introduction of improved and safer classes of antibiotics. However, with increasing resistance to first-line agents, polymyxins have been increasingly relied upon as "last resort" agents, despite their pharmacological and safety limitations. Therefore, an improved new generation of the polymyxin class of drugs is desirable.
"Our collaboration with world-class experts in polymyxin antimicrobials at Monash University was highly successful in discovering new polymyxins with enhanced pharmacological properties and safety in preclinical studies," said Michael Dudley, PharmD, President and CEO of Qpex Biopharma. "We believe the new polymyxin clinical drug candidate emerging from this collaboration will have an improved profile over other members of this class. This program joins our internal pipeline of products under development to address serious and urgent resistance threats. We look forward to advancing these programs in development within our partnership with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)."
The Monash-Qpex polymyxin drug discovery collaboration was funded by a Partnerships for Biodefense grant (R01AI098771) awarded to Professor Jian Li, Ph.D. of Monash University by the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Scientists from Qpex collaborated as the designated industrial partner with Monash University on this grant.
"The world desperately needs better polymyxins and in animal studies our novel synthetic polymyxins show improved efficacy and safety over the currently used polymyxin drugs. It is very exciting to see a clinical candidate successfully identified from this five-year project. We are thrilled with the partnership with the highly experienced and proven Qpex team that will progress the development of a clinical candidate. We are very grateful to the NIAID/NIH for funding this program," said Professor Li.
About Qpex Biopharma, Inc.
Qpex Biopharma (www.qpexbio.com) is a San Diego-based biopharmaceutical company with a pipeline of best-in-class agents addressing critical needs for treatment of infectious diseases in the inpatient and outpatient settings. Qpex was launched in October 2018 with investment from New Enterprise Associates, Adams Street Partners, LYZZ Capital, Hatteras Venture Partners and Stanford University Draper Fund. The company's scientists and clinicians have a record of deep expertise in the discovery and development of anti-infective agents, and an extensive record of working with public-private partnerships, including a previous contract with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) that led to the first approved antimicrobial drug product under that program in 2017.
Qpex's partnership with BARDA is funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response; Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), under OTA number HHSO100201600026C. The agreement provides support for the development of a portfolio of new antibiotics to fight drug-resistant, gram-negative infections. The initial award was for $32 million in funding, and up to an additional $100 million (pending the availability of funding) is available if all options to extend the partnership are exercised by BARDA.
In response to threats presented by bioterrorism and emerging infectious diseases, the NIAID Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID) has established research programs to facilitate development of countermeasures for certain pathogens and toxins. The NIAID/NIH Partnerships for Biodefense grants support the development of therapeutics, vaccines or medical diagnostics that address designated priority pathogens and toxins. A Partnerships for Biodefense grant (R01AI098771) was awarded to Professor Jian Li, Ph.D. of Monash University to collaborate with Qpex to develop improved polymyxin drugs that are effective against Gram-negative 'superbugs.'
About Monash University
Monash University is the largest university in Australia, ranked in the world's top 100 and a member of the prestigious Group of Eight. The University is named after Sir John Monash and is fueled by his desire for its students to leave with a greater sense of purpose and the skills and confidence to create positive change.
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