A U.S. government-backed initiative against drug-resistant bacteria has awarded Antabio $2.8 million to continue developing treatments for Pseudomonas, the most common infection in cystic fibrosis (CF).
The grant came from a public-private partnership known as CARB-X, which stands for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator. CARB-X, formed in July 2016, has awarded more than $40 million to 18 biotech companies working on drug-resistant therapies.
Antabio topped 367 applicants worldwide to win the latest CARB-X competition. The $2.8 million will go toward the development of its elastase inhibitors through the end of Phase 1 clinical trials. The company can obtain an additional $6.1 million in CARB-X funding by meeting certain development milestones.
The U.S. government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases are supporting CARB-X, along with the United Kingdom’s non-profit Wellcome Trust.
Antabio’s elastase inhibitors work in combination with antibiotics to clear Pseudomonas infections. They suppress the bacteria’s LasB virulence factor, which scientists believe is responsible for the pathogen’s ability to frustrate the immune system.
“This award enables Antabio to develop a new paradigm in the treatment of infectious disease,” Martin Everett, chief scientific officer of Antabio, said in a press release. The new approach involves “targeting the bacterium’s ability to cause disease and evade attack by the immune system and antibiotics.”
“Opening up alternative ways to fight disease is particularly important given the increases in multidrug-resistant pathogens and the shortage of new antibiotics,” he added.
“Drug-resistant infections are complex, and developing new antibiotics challenging, timely and costly,” said Kevin Outterson, CARB-X’s executive director. “But restoring the R&D [research and development] pipeline is vital to address the seriously increasing threat of superbugs which have become resistant to existing drugs.
“This is a global problem, and CARB-X is a critical part of the global solution,” he added. “We are looking to support the best potential new treatments and diagnostics across the world. We are especially pleased that today’s awards mean we are now supporting scientists in six countries. The projects offer exciting potential. But we need greater global support from governments, industry and civil society to get the new treatments the world urgently needs.”