Phico Therapeutics Awarded up to $18.2 Million Funding to Advance Antibacterial Therapy

Phico Therapeutics (‘Phico’), a British biotech company developing engineered phage technologies as the foundation of a new wave of antibiotics to tackle antibacterial resistance, has been awarded funding of up to $18.2 Million (circa. £13.2 million GBP).

Accelerating antibacterial research to combat drug-resistant bacteria

The grant is awarded by Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X), a non-profit partnership devoted to accelerating antibacterial research in order to combat the growing global challenge of drug-resistant bacteria. With funding of $5.3 million USD (approximately £3.8 million GBP) available immediately and a further $12.9 million (approximately £9.4 million GBP) contingent on reaching certain project milestones, Phico will be sponsored to advance its lead product SASPjectTM PT3.9 through Phase 1 clinical trials.

Dr. Heather Fairhead, Phico Founder and CEO said:

“To receive funding from CARB-X is important validation for our SASPject technology platform and its potential in fighting bacterial resistance. It has been awarded at the end of a thorough due diligence process which reinforces the credibility of the company and our team. I am delighted to now look forward to progressing our lead product to clinical trials and developing a product pipeline that will advance the science of antibacterial therapy and in time, save millions of lives round the world.”

Phico’s SASPject PT3.9 designed for the intravenous treatment of hospital infections caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa is based on Philco’s patented SASPject platform. The platform employs unique antibacterial small acid-soluble spore proteins (SASP), targeting specific bacterial species to inactivate their DNA, preventing them from metabolizing or reproducing.

The first-in-man, intravenous Phase I clinical studies will be concentrated on ensuring the safety and kinetics of PT3.9 in healthy volunteers and, potentially, patients with ventilated hospital acquired pneumonia and ventilator associated pneumonia.

Erin Duffy, R&D Chief of CARB-X said:

“Phico’s innovative approach delivers the antibiotic effect of SASPs by using engineered bacteriophages to precisely target P. aeruginosa infections in the lungs. This approach has the potential to target bacteria without damaging other cells, and without contributing to the rise of resistance. If successful, this new intravenous drug could transform the way patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia are treated in hospitals, and save lives.”

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a leading cause of pneumonia in hospitalised and particularly ventilated patients. The increasing incidence of strains showing multi-drug antibiotic resistance resulted in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifying P. aeruginosa as a serious threat to human health. The SASPject platform could provide a new range of antibiotic treatments to help combat antimicrobial resistance, which is now identified as a Top 3 Global Health Threat by the World Health Organization.

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