Swiss-based Polyphor has secured financing for late-stage development of Murepavadin (POL7080), an antibiotic targeting a bacteria that often infects the airways of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients.
A hallmark of the therapy is that it goes after antibiotic-resistant strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which infects not just MS patients, but people with other health problems.
Existing investors are providing most of the 40-million Swiss Franc — or $40 million — financing. Polyphor has already received 10 million of the 40 million Francs. It will obtain the remainder after meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the completion of a Phase 2 trial of Murepavadin.
The drug is about to enter a Phase 3 trial. Polyphor is likely to base a marketing-approval application on the results of that study.
In addition to the antibiotic, Polyphor is developing POL6014, an inhaled drug that blocks an elastase enzyme in neutrophil immune cells. Intended for the treatment of CF and other severe lung diseases, it is in Phase 1b clinical trials.
“The capital increase secures the financing of the pivotal development program of our lead antibiotic candidate Murepavadin, the advancement of POL6014, and, in general, of our promising pipeline”, Giacomo Di Nepi, CEO of Polyphor, said in a press release.
Murepavadin belongs to a class of compounds called precision Outer Membrane Protein Targeting Antibiotics (OMPTAs). Polyphor scientists came up with the class to meet ever-increasing needs for a treatment against resistant and difficult-to-treat bacteria.
Polyphor noted that OMPTAs are the first new class of antibiotics targeting Gram-negative bacteria that have reached the late stages of the clinical trial process in 40 years.
Chronic infections of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and not the underlying disease, are the leading cause of lung function decline among CF patients.
“The very significant backing of the financing by our existing investors, including the substantial support from anchor investors Varuma AG and Ingro Finanz AG, is an important sign of trust and endorsement of the strategy, and allows the implementation of our mission to build value by developing innovative medicines to fight antibiotic resistance and help patients with severe respiratory diseases,” Di Nepi said.