The company’s immediate focus is cystic fibrosis (CF), a disease characterized by chronic bacterial infection in the lungs. In a second phase, Olgram will target hospital-acquired infections in patients whose immune systems weaken (immunocompromised patients) after head trauma.
“We are delighted with this seed financing, which will allow us to accelerate the developments of our two flagship programs in the prevention and control of bacterial infections,” Pierre Rocheteau, PhD, CEO of Olgram, said in a press release. “Our ultimate goal is to target all chronic infectious pathologies requiring the elimination of dormant bacteria.”
Olgram, based in France, is focused on discovering molecules of marine origin with the potential to prevent and control bacterial infections. According to the company’s website, “marine organisms represent a largely unexplored source for new marine valuable pharmacological products.”
In people with CF, the most common bacterial species known to cause lung infections is Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Although usually treatable with common antibiotics, some of these bacteria can remain in a dormant state for weeks or months, and later “waken” as more aggressive and resistant to treatment. Dormant bacteria are associated with chronic relapses and antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotic resistance is considered a big threat to global health, as infections caused by these bacteria are harder, and sometimes impossible, to treat compared with those due to non-resistant bacteria. It is estimated that 700,000 people die from antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections every year.
Olgram aims to develop first-in-class antibiotics using a new mechanism of action — based on peptides (protein pieces) and a marine molecule called marine sulfated polysaccharide — that might offer a new treatment option for people with recurrent bacterial infections.
Its pipeline currently comprises two candidate products: OL20-01, an antibiotic with a potential to eliminate both dormant and persistent bacteria; and OL20-11, a molecule isolated from marine algae thought capable of boosting the immune system.
Using a proprietary platform to modify and test molecules, the company is working to advance OL20-01 toward optimal antibiotic activity.
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