CF Foundation Grant Supports Testing of CSA-131 Against Resistant Bacteria

Teresa Carvalho, MS avatar

by Teresa Carvalho, MS |

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CSA-131 and bacteria

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) has given Kinnear Pharmaceuticals up to $3 million to conduct the laboratory tests of CSA-131, a potential inhaled treatment of infections in people with cystic fibrosis (CF), that are needed to move it into human trials.

CF patients are prone to bacterial lung infections. According to the CFF’s Patient Registry Report, 44.2% of enrolled patients — especially older adolescents and adults — were infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a hard-to-treat bacteria, in 2019.

Infection with Paeruginosa can be particularly harmful, since it has been shown to decrease lung function. Once in the lungs, these bacteria can also form biofilms — clusters of bacteria that stick together, making them more resistant to treatment with standard antibiotic therapies.

Among the P. aeruginosa infections in the CFF registry for 2019, 16.9% were found to be multi-drug resistant.

“Expanding the number of approved anti-infective therapies is critical, as people with CF continue to experience chronic infections throughout their lives and we continue to see a rise in the prevalence of multi-drug resistant bacteria,” John P. Clancy, MD, vice president of clinical research at CFF, said in a press release.

CSA-131 is a synthetic compound from the family of ceragenins, antimicrobials designed to mimic the structure and function of body’s natural compounds involved in fighting infections. CSA-131 is designed to prevent bacterial and fungal growth by breaking down their biofilms, and eventually killing the bacteria.

The potential utility of ceragenins in fighting bacterial infections, including pulmonary infections associated with CF, was previously described. Data from a recent study also suggested that CSA-131, in particular, had both “antimicrobial and antibiofilm effects” against the drug-resistant bacteria Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, which its researchers noted was a rising cause of infections in CF patients.

Kinnear will use the grant for preclinical toxicity tests CSA-131 and to determine the appropriate dosing for future clinical trials.

“This program joins nine other promising potential anti-infective treatments currently in the pipeline,” Clancy said. The funding is part of CFF’s commitment to research on infectious diseases.

In 2018, the Foundation reported awards totaling at least $100 million to its Infection Research Initiative. This project — which opened in 2019 and is due to run through 2023 — aims to improve the detection, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungus.

CFF reports that it is currently giving financial support to more than 15 industry projects into treatments for CF-related infections.