Global Roundup: BioVersys Secures CARB-X Funds for Multidrug Resistant Research


Drug-resistant pathogens continue to be a top concern for many researchers. This week, Swiss pharma company BioVersys received a financial shot in the arm to support its development of a new class of antibiotics to treat infections caused by multidrug-resistant ESKAPE pathogens.

ESKAPE is an acronym for some of the world’s most dangerous bacterial pathogens. These pathogens (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacter species) are common causes life-threatening infections, especially among immune-compromised patients, patients on ventilators in hospital and health-care settings, and infants and young children in low- and middle-income countries. 

BioVerys’s lead asset is pyrrolocytosines (BV300), a novel class of small molecules that target the ribosome, a validated antibacterial target and important part of the bacteria’s defense mechanism.

BioVersys will initially secure up to $4.35 million from CARB-X to develop the antibiotics. That amount could increase to $10.98 million if the project achieves certain milestones. The CARB-X funding will help support BioVersys’ Lead Optimization program to develop this compound class for difficult-to-treat severe infections, including pneumonia.

Elsewhere around the globe:

ERS Genomics – Ireland-based ERS Genomic announced the Japanese Patent office rejected arguments filed in opposition to the second patent filed by co-founder Emmanuelle Charpentier. Opponents contested novelty and inventive step. The patent covers compositions and methods for use in a variety of eukaryotic cells, in either dual-guide or single-guide format. Additionally, the Japanese Patent Office allowed a third patent that covers a chimeric version of the Cas9 protein. This patent covers compositions and uses of a chimeric version of the Cas9 protein in cellular and non-cellular settings and will represent the third Japanese patent granted to the group.

Recce Pharmaceuticals – Australia-based Recce announced its lead synthetic anti-infective compound, RECCE 327 (R327) demonstrated multiple novel mechanisms of action against E. coli bacteria, following a pre-clinical study. Data from the study revealed that R327 was shown to be rapidly and irreversibly bactericidal against Gram-negative E. coli bacteria, in both active and stationary phase cells. R327 outperformed best-in-class commercial antibiotis, the company said. Current antibiotics rarely retain bactericidal activities against nondividing or stationary-phase bacterial cells that populate biofilms. However, R327 showed activity against slow-growing bacteria thereby indicating potential antibacterial activity in biofilms. The data reinforces the potential of this compound to be effective against a broad range of antibiotic-resistant superbug, the company said.

Genmab A/S – Denmark-based Genmab and California-based Bolt Biotherapeutics entered into an oncology research and development collaboration. The companies will evaluate Genmab antibodies and bispecific antibody engineering technologies in combination with Bolt’s proprietary Boltbody immune-stimulating antibody conjugate (ISAC) technology platform, in order to discover and develop next-generation, immune-stimulatory, antibody-based conjugate therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. This research collaboration will evaluate multiple bispecific ISAC concepts in order to identify up to three clinical candidates for development. Under the terms of the agreement, Genmab will pay Bolt $10 million in upfront money. Genmab will also make a $15 million equity investment in Bolt.

PharmaLex Group – Germany’s PharmaLex completed its merger with Spain’s Oblikue Consulting. Through the merger, PharmaLex said it gains “critical scale to its emerging offering in the strategic growth area of pricing and reimbursement.” Additionally, the merger opens new opportunities across multiple European markets, as well as potential inroads in South America.

Precision NanoSystems – Canada-based NanoSystems (PNI), a genetics medicine company, has been acquired by Danaher Corporation’s Life Sciences platform. PNI will join Danaher’s Life Sciences platform and will be complementary to other businesses in the platform, including Cytiva and Pall.

Proteros biostructures GmbH – Germany-based Proteros forged an agreement with AstraZeneca to discover and develop novel small molecules for the potential treatment of various types of cancer. Proteros’ discovery capabilities are tailored to unlock even the most technically challenging drug targets. That will be paired with AstraZeneca’s expertise in target biology and medicinal chemistry. Together, the company’s will discover novel lead compounds which will be further developed, manufactured, and commercialized by AstraZeneca. Under terms of the deal, AstraZeneca will provide funding for the research and Proteros will be eligible for milestones of up to €62 million.

Transine Therapeutics – U.K.-based Transine secured £9.1 million in seed funding to support the development of a novel class of therapeutic RNAs based on its SINEUP platform technology. The company is assessing its therapeutics for Central Nervous System and Ophthalmology applications.

Relief Therapeutics –Switzerland-based RELIEF submitted an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeking Emergency Use Authorization for the use of aviptadil in the treatment of critical COVID-19 in patients with respiratory failure. The EUA submission is based on the results of a COVID-19 IV randomized, placebo-controlled phase IIb/III clinical trial conducted by NRx in the United States.

RheaVita – Belgium-based RheaVita closed a €2.5 million Series A financing round. RheaVita is pioneering freeze-drying technology for biopharmaceutical products. RheaVita has developed the an end-to-end continuous freeze-drying solution to address biopharmaceutical product development, manufacturing and supply needs in order to efficiently reach patients. RheaVita will use the proceeds to further develop and accelerate commercialization of its continuous freeze-drying production-scale equipment, along with the concomitant team expansion. The Series A was co-led by Novalis Biotech Acceleration and Participatie Maatschappij Vlaanderen.

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