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Polyphor AG: Polyphor Receives CHF 2.3 Million Award from Wellcome Trust to Accelerate the Development of a Novel Antibiotic Drug Class

EQS Group-News: Polyphor AG / Key word(s): Agreement

09.02.2017 / 09:00

Polyphor Receives CHF 2.3 Million Award from Wellcome Trust to Accelerate the Development of a Novel Antibiotic Drug Class

Allschwil, Switzerland, February 09, 2017 - Polyphor Ltd. announces today that it has received a CHF 2.3 million award from the Wellcome Trust to advance the development of broad-spectrum, Gram-negative pre-clinical product candidates. These are based on Polyphor's new product class, the Outer Membrane Protein Targeting Antibiotics (OMPTA), which has shown outstanding efficacy against the most resistant strains of Gram-negative pathogens. Wellcome is the world's largest biomedical research funding charity with substantial experience and commitment in antibacterial research and development. The Seeding Drug Discovery Award will help support the development of novel antibiotics over the next 18 - 24 months.

Giacomo Di Nepi, CEO of Polyphor, said: "The resistance of bacteria to antibiotics is a growing and significant global public health issue. The support from Wellcome will help us advance our novel broad-spectrum antibiotics even more expeditiously towards the first clinical trial." He added: "Today's award is yet another validation of our breakthrough antibiotic research which already resulted in Murepavadin, a precision antibiotic for the treatment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections, close to enter pivotal clinical studies. The award from Wellcome exemplifies Polyphor's strategy of translating innovative research into new medicines that address major unmet needs."

Dr Ann Mills-Duggan, from Wellcome's Innovations Division commented: "Already hundreds of thousands of people every year die from drug resistant infections. If nothing is done, this will increase to millions of people every year by 2050. A healthy pipeline of alternative treatments is a vital part of tackling this serious global health problem. This Seeding Drug Discovery award to Polyphor will contribute to this pipeline by supporting the development of a new class of antibiotics."

Polyphor's novel class of antibiotics is efficacious against multi-drug resistant Gram-negative strains

Polyphor's broad-spectrum antibiotics have demonstrated to be highly efficacious against multi-drug resistant Gram-negative pathogens both in vitro and in vivo belonging to the so-called ESKAPE pathogens (Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter spp.) including isolates resistant to colistin, which is often used as the last resort antibiotic. The new compound series is currently in advanced lead optimization phase and the program should deliver the first development candidates entering clinical testing within the next two years.

Polyphor's novel antibiotics of the OMPTA class, also comprises Murepavadin (POL7080), the first member of the class, which is being developed for the treatment of serious Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections associated with ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia (VABP). Polyphor is currently in discussion with the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency on a regulatory path towards market approval for Murepavadin.

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health

The World Health Organization considers antibiotic resistance as one of the biggest threats to global health today. It can affect anyone, of any age, in any country. Antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, but widespread misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process. A growing number of infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and gonorrhea are becoming difficult to treat, and the antibiotics used become less effective. Antibiotic resistance leads to longer hospital stay, higher medical costs and increased mortality.

Antibiotic resistance has been estimated to be responsible for some 700,000 deaths globally each year, a number that could rise as high as 10 million, potentially exceeding the annual number of deaths from cancer (The Lancet Infectious Disorders, 2013). The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control estimates healthcare costs and productivity losses in Europe to be at least EUR 1.5 billion (The bacterial challenge: time to react, 2009).

Catherine Hof
Corporate Communications
Polyphor Ltd

About Wellcome
Wellcome exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. They're a global charitable foundation, both politically and financially independent. They support scientists and researchers, take on big problems, fuel imaginations and spark debate.

About Polyphor
Polyphor is a privately held Swiss Specialty Pharma company focused on the development of macrocycle drugs that address antibiotic resistance and rare pulmonary diseases. The company's lead drug candidates include:

- Murepavadin (POL7080, in Phase II), a highly specific OMPTA (Outer Membrane Protein Targeting Antibiotic) to treat Pseudomonas infections, based on a new mechanism of action

- POL6014 (in Phase Ib), an inhaled inhibitor of neutrophil elastase for the treatment of cystic fibrosis, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, and other lung diseases

- Balixafortide (POL6326, in Phase Ib), a CXCR4 antagonist for combination treatments in oncology

In addition, Polyphor is developing new class of broad-spectrum, Outer Membrane Protein Targeting Antibiotics, to address infections caused by difficult to treat, resistant Gram-negative pathogens - one of the most pressing emerging medical needs.

Polyphor leverages its proprietary macrocycle technology platform to efficiently develop its own product portfolio and to pursue licensing and collaboration opportunities with industry partners. It has collaborative partnerships with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics, Taisho, Novartis and Gilead Science. For more information go to

Document: Award Wellcome Trust

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