CAMBRIDGE, England, January 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Phico Therapeutics today announced it has been granted a Wellcome Trust Strategic Translational Award totalling GBP1.03 million to cover Phase I and II trials of its lead candidate SASPject(TM) PT1.2 for nasal decolonisation of MRSA and S. aureus. PT1.2 is based on a new class of antibacterial proteins called SASPs which bind to bacterial DNA resulting in rapid "speed of kill". Phico envisages developing a fast-acting, easily applicable nasal gel which would combat both hospital S. aureus infection and hospital and community MRSA transmission and drug-resistance.
According to Phico Therapeutics CEO and founder, Dr Heather Fairhead, there is a clear need for such a product. "Whilst hospitals have introduced stricter cleaning regimes, the twin problems of transmission and drug-resistance remain. We already demonstrated last year in several studies, including some carried out in conjunction with the UK's Health Protection Agency, that PT1.2 is rapidly bactericidal against more than 200 clinical S. aureus and MRSA isolates, spanning the known MRSA types in Europe and the US. Indeed in the speed of kill assay, SASP caused a greater than or equal to 99.9 % drop in viability within 2 minutes against a 10(5) culture and a greater than or equal to 99.9 % drop in viability within 10 minutes against a 10(7) culture of a major US MRSA strain. I am delighted that the Wellcome Trust see the potential of PT1.2. This award will enable us to conduct phase I and II clinical trials with results expected Q3 2009 and Q3 2010 respectively."
Dr Ted Bianco, Director of Technology Transfer at the Wellcome Trust commented: "There is an urgent need to develop innovative ways to manage the transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the hospital and care-home environments. The approach being taken by Dr Fairhead and colleagues is imaginative and original. If successful, this technology may provide an important new tool in the fight against MRSA and other pathogenic bacteria."
Dr Fairhead also added that other SASP candidates in the Company's pipeline are being developed against C. difficile and E. coli/Klebsiella pneumoniae, and a modified PT1.2 is being developed for intravenous use and that she would be seeking further funding to advance their development.
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