MicuRx Announces Funding from CARB-X for Innovative Polymyxin Antibiotic MRX-8

Published: Mar 05, 2018

HAYWARD, Calif. and SHANGHAI, China, March 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- MicuRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced that the global partnership Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Accelerator (CARB-X) has committed up to $5.2 million of non-dilutive financing for IND enablement and subsequent Phase 1 clinical studies of MRX-8, also known as PMX-8. This agent is a novel polymyxin antibiotic designed to treat multi-drug resistant Gram-negative infections such as E. coli, P. aeruginosa, K. pneumoniae and A. baumannii.

The antibacterial class of polymyxins includes the drugs colistin and polymyxin B, essential antibiotics with potent activity against Gram-negative pathogens. While very effective, polymyxins are relegated to a last-resort option due to the high incidence of kidney toxicity (nephrotoxicity), with rates up to 60% for the current polymyxin therapy. In addition to nephrotoxicity, polymyxins can manifest neurotoxicity. Due to the lack of agents effective against multi-drug resistant infections, physicians are increasingly using polymyxins, despite the toxicity. Importantly, no novel systemic polymyxin has been approved in over 60 years.

The new agent MRX-8 is designed to overcome the limiting nephrotoxicity of current polymyxins. Current preclinical data demonstrated its high efficacy, with the reduced nephrotoxicity as well as attenuated acute or neuromuscular toxicity, when compared to existing polymyxin drugs.

"We are pleased to have received this support for our MRX-8 program from CARB-X, a non-profit partnership comprised of the key global leaders in the science, development, and the medical use of anti-infectives," stated Zhengyu Yuan, Ph.D., president and CEO of MicuRx.

CARB-X was created in response to the U.S. government's 2015 National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (CARB) and the UK government's call in 2016 for a concerted global effort to tackle antibiotic resistance. CARB-X was launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)'s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID/NIH). Funders are BARDA and Wellcome Trust.

"The MicuRx team is excited to rapidly advance MRX-8 from the original concept and into IND development, with the opportunity to augment the armamentarium of effective antibiotics urgently needed to treat serious Gram-negative infections," stated Mike Gordeev, Ph.D., CSO of MicuRx.

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