Centauri Therapeutics receives Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst award

Funding will be used to develop the company’s Alphamer technology to target antibacterial resistance

Centauri Therapeutics (Centauri), a biotechnology company focused on the treatment of infectious diseases and cancer, has been awarded up to £945,000 under Innovate UK’s Biomedical Catalyst (BMC) programme.

Alongside backing from the company’s investors, this award from the UK’s innovation agency will co-fund research focused on antimicrobial resistance.

The project aims to generate a clinical candidate drug against Gram-negative bacteria, which are a major cause of mortality in hospital-acquired pneumonias, using the company’s Alphamer technology.

Bacteria are continually evolving to resist new antibiotics, meaning new medicines are required to target novel drug-resistant strains and deliver effective therapies to patients.

Centauri plans to develop an innovative treatment for patients suffering from infections caused by these resistant bacteria.

Using the company’s Alphamer drug mechanism, chemically synthesised molecules will redirect pre-existing antibodies to pathogens in a specific manner that elicits an immune response.

This immune response will mediate destruction of the bacteria to clear the infection, while working in conjunction with existing antibiotics to reduce the dose and duration of therapy. Unlike traditional vaccines, this approach aims to treat infected patients and has the potential to elicit a broader immune response than monoclonal antibodies alone.

Dr Mike Westby, Director and CEO of Centauri Therapeutics, commenting on the award, said: “The lack of new antibiotics combined with increasing incidence of bacterial resistance in the clinic has been termed "the perfect storm" and there is an urgent need for innovative methods and efficacious therapies."

"The BMC Award is a significant recognition of Centauri’s scientific expertise and demonstrates the UK government’s confidence in our team’s ability to combat antibacterial resistance and deliver novel treatments for patients.”

Total costs for the project titled "Optimisation of antibody recruiting molecules as immunotherapeutics" are estimated to be £1.35million. The co-funding from Innovate UK will cover up to 70% of this, with Centauri’s investors supporting the remaining 30% of the project costs during a 2-year period.