Award Granted to Support Research on Therapies to Fight Lung Bacteria

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by Patricia Inácio, PhD |

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Peptilogics has won an award to conduct research for two antibacterial peptides as a first-line therapy to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis (CF).

According to a press release, the award, by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, will support further preclinical research of PLG0301 and PLG0206, two lab-made antibacterial peptides. Peptides are short chains of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.

Lung infections, such as those by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, are a major cause of early death among CF patients. With current antibiotics failing to protect against hard-to-treat bacteria, new strategies are urgently needed to halt disease progression and improve patients’ lives.

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“We look forward to advancing our preclinical program for PLG0301 and PLG0206 toward our goal of decreasing the duration and frequency of pulmonary exacerbations [flare-ups] and ultimately improving and extending the lives of patients with CF,” said David Huang, MD, PhD, chief medical officer at Peptilogics.

“We are grateful to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for their interest in our program and contribution towards this research,” he added.

Antibacterial peptides are naturally produced by several animals, including humans, and used as a first line of immune defense against bacteria. They work by disrupting the bacteria’s membranes.

PLG0301 and PLG0206, two cationic (positive electric charge) antibacterial peptides, were designed to quickly induce the death of a wide range of bacteria, including those that are antibiotic-resistant. According to Peptilogics, they have a potent activity against biofilms — slimy layers of microorganisms that stick to wet surfaces and facilitate antibiotic evasion. Moreover, due to their properties, they are less susceptible to bacterial resistance.

Previous studies have shown that the two antibacterial peptides also have the potential for anti-inflammatory activity, which has an added value for CF, since inflammation in the airways fosters CF lung disease. The peptides also showed a safe and tolerable profile.

“PLG0301 and PLG0206 have a unique potential to address the urgent unmet need for a novel anti-infective with anti-biofilm activity against multidrug-resistant bacteria typically found in airway secretions of individuals with CF, while also reducing the resulting pathological [disease] inflammation,” Huang said.

The results of the preclinical research, if promising, may be used to support an investigational new drug application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to conduct clinical trials.

PLG0206, the company’s lead therapeutic, was initially meant for prosthetic joint infections, an orthopedics indication. A Phase 1b trial (NCT05137314) is currently underway as part of this program.