Polyphor and Wellcome Trust to develop novel antibiotics against multi-drug resistant Gram-negative pathogens

Final milestone reached ahead of schedule triggering payment of a CHF 0.97 million convertible loan amount

Polyphor has successfully completed its Wellcome Trust collaboration, which supported the development of novel Outer Membrane Protein Targeting Antibiotics (OMPTA) addressing the most resistant Gram-negative bacterial pathogens, including those designated as a critical concern by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The final milestone was the selection of a preclinical candidate series meeting a set of predefined criteria and was achieved ahead of schedule.

Reaching the milestone led to the payment of the final tranche of CHF 0.97 million of the aggregate loan amount of CHF 2.3 million under the convertible loan (Seeding Drug Discovery Award) first announced in February 2017.

The novel antibiotics target the most important Gram-negative ESKAPE pathogens (Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacter spp.) which are the leading cause of severe and often deadly infections throughout the world, such as bloodstream infections and pneumonia.

Importantly, this new class of antibiotics is active both in vitro and in vivo against strains that have become resistant to most and in some cases all commonly used antibiotics including the "last resort" antibiotic colistin.

"Our OMPTAs are potentially the first new class of antibiotics against Gram-negative bacteria in 50 years," said Daniel Obrecht, CSO and cofounder of Polyphor.

"The first product of this class, the Pseudomonas-selective drug murepavadin, is now in a global Phase III programme.

The support of the Wellcome Trust has been very important for us, accelerating the development of the next generation of OMPTA compounds."

"We believe their novel mechanism of action, targeting the outer membrane proteins of Gram-negative bacteria, provides for the potential to develop highly effective antibiotics against which pathogens may only slowly build resistance."

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