Grant awarded for the development of engineered bacteriophage with SASP gene
CARB-X providing funding to Phico Therapeutics, Cambridge UK, to support the progression of their SASPject PT3.9 product. $5.3 million to support the preclinical development, followed by up to $12.86 million should the project successfully progress through safety to Phase 1 first-in-human clinical studies, subject to available funding.
CARB-X, the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator, is a global non-profit partnership that is dedicated to addressing the threat of antibiotic resistance by focusing on research, preclinical discovery, and the development of alternative products to address antibiotic resistance.
“Phico’s innovative approach delivers the antibiotic effect of SASPs by using engineered bacteriophages to precisely target P. aeruginosa infections in the lungs,” said Erin Duffy, R&D Chief of CARB-X. “This approach has the potential to target bacteria without damaging other cells, and without contributing to the rise of resistance. If successful, this new intravenous drug could transform the way patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia are treated in hospitals, and save lives.”
Phico Therapeutics is a biotechnology company that is developing genetically engineered phage technology as a new generation treatment to overcome antibacterial resistance.
Dr. Heather Fairhead, Phico Founder, and CEO said: “To receive funding from CARB-X is an important validation for our SASPject technology platform and its potential in fighting bacterial resistance. It has been awarded at the end of a thorough due diligence process which reinforces the credibility of the company and our team. I am delighted to now look forward to progressing our lead product to clinical trials and developing a product pipeline that will advance the science of antibacterial therapy and in time, save millions of lives around the world.”
Engineered bacteriophage with SASP gene against Pseudomonas aeruginosa
The novel SASPject PT3.9 is an intravenous engineered bacteriophage against Pseudomonas aeruginosa that utilizes Phico’s SASPject platform. The platform itself utilizes unique antibacterial small acid-soluble spore proteins (SASP) and targets selected bacterial species in order to inactive bacterial DNA. This stops them from metabolizing or reproducing. The Phase 1 clinical trials will be first-in-man, intravenous studies, focusing on establishing the safety and kinetics of PT3.9 in healthy volunteers, and potentially, patients with ventilated hospital-acquired pneumonia and ventilator-associated pneumonia.
The SASPject PT3.9 treatment is aiming to address the presence of P. aeruginosa causing pneumonia, as it is currently a serious problem in hospitals, intensive-care units, and health care settings, especially patients on ventilators. P. aeruginosa is one of the three highly antibiotic-resistant bacteria listed by the World Health organization and poses a great threat to human health.