The funding will be used to support Antabio’s Pseudomonas Elastase Inhibitor (PEi) program, which is seeking to develop a small molecule to stop the action of the LasB elastase protein. That protein, made by the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa, causes damage and inflammation to lung tissue, and prevents the immune system from defending against the bacteria effectively.
The World Health Organization has identified Pseudomonas aeruginosa as one of the most critical pathogens urgently requiring alternative treatment strategies. Among CF patients, in particular, many are affected by Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections. In some cases, the bacteria can become resistant to the body’s immune system and conventional antibiotics.
The funding for Antabio’s PEi program was awarded by CARB-X, which stands for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator. CARB-X is a global public-private, non-profit partnership dedicated to developing products that target drug-resistant bacteria.
After receiving initial funding of $2.8 million from CARB-X in 2017, Antabio has now identified a small molecule candidate that can prevent the action of Pseudomonas’ LasB elastase. Achieving his milestone in its program has allowed Antabio to receive the additional $4.4 million to continue its research with preclinical studies.
The goal is to develop an inhaled candidate therapy that works in combination with existing treatments to help reduce the severity of P. aeruginosa infections, limit the damage, and speed up the clearance of the bacteria from the lungs.
“We are very pleased by CARB-X’s continued financial support for our program focused on the development of our novel Pseudomonas elastase inhibitors. We believe that this program has the potential to deliver new molecules that will enhance the effects of the current antibiotics, and improve the treatment of infections in CF patients” Marc Lemonnier, Antabio’s CEO, said in a press release.
“CARB-X’s pipeline, which includes Antabio’s novel PEi approach to AMR [antimicrobial resistance], continues to expand with innovative antibiotics and prevention approaches,” said Erin Duffy, CARB-X’s chief of research and development.
“Our milestone-based funding is designed to recognize success in the progression of highly innovative programs, like those pursuing the urgently needed treatment of severe Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections,” she said.