Phico Therapeutics Awarded Technology Strategy Board Biomedical Catalyst Grant To Develop Its SASPject Antibiotic Technology For Drug Resistant Bacteria

Published: Jul 07, 2014

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Cambridge, UK, 7 July 2014: Phico Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing a novel platform technology for a new generation of antibiotics aimed at overcoming antibacterial resistance, announces that it has been awarded a £1.6M biomedical catalyst grant by the Technology Strategy Board to develop its SASPject™ technology against the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Pseudomonas aeruginosa has the ability to rapidly develop resistance to multiple classes of antibiotics and new classes of treatment are much needed. It is a serious, usually hospital-acquired infection and the second leading cause of hospital acquired pneumonias.

The grant for the antibiotic SASPject™ PT3 will enable the company to refine and scale up the manufacturing process and transfer to a contract manufacturing organisation and conduct preclinical efficacy and safety studies in order to make the product ready for first in man studies.

SASPject™ PT3 will initially be aimed at use in the treatment of serious Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections where limited treatment options exist.

Dr. Heather Fairhead, Phico Therapeutics’ Founder and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “We are delighted to have been awarded this biomedical catalyst grant by the Technology Strategy Board, which we think is a powerful endorsement of our SASPject™ technology and the potential it holds for a new generation of antibacterials to overcome the problem of antibiotic resistance.

“Phico Therapeutics believes that SASPject™ offers one of the best potential solutions for overcoming the challenge of antibiotic resistance, and we look forward to working on developing our PT3 product to get it ready for clinical trials.”

For further information contact:

Phico Therapeutics, Heather Fairhead: +44 (0)1223 496755,

Consilium Strategic Communications, Jessica Hodgson, Mary-Jane Elliott: +44 (0)203 709 5000

About Phico Therapeutics:

Phico Therapeutics Ltd. is a biotechnology company developing a novel platform technology which it believes could form the basis for a new generation of antibiotics to overcome antibacterial resistance.

The company, founded in Cambridge in 2000 by Dr. Heather Fairhead and chaired by Dr. Anthony F. Martin, is built around the SASPject™ platform, which targets and deactivates bacterial DNA using nano-delivery vehicles, to prevent bacteria from metabolising or reproducing.

Phico Therapeutics has three products in development, one of which, SASPject™ PT1.2, targeting Staphylococcus aureus, including MRSA, has successfully completed a Phase I trial. We have two other preclinical products in development.

About Pseudomas Aeruginosa

P. aeruginosa infections are usually serious and, apart from some specific diseases such as cystic fibrosis, are almost always hospital acquired. The organism ranks fifth in the league of hospital acquired infections overall but is the most common organism isolated in intensive care units where it is the second leading cause of hospital acquired pneumonias and causes 10% of the blood stream infections. Selection of which antibiotics to use is complicated by the ability of P. aeruginosa to develop resistance to multiple classes of antibacterial agents, even during the course of therapy. Studies have shown that infections caused by drug-resistant P. aeruginosa are associated with significant increases in morbidity and mortality.

About SASPject technology

SASPject is a novel platform technology which can, in principle, be developed for all clinical bacteria and does not show cross resistance with any other antibiotic class. It is based on an antibiotic protein, SASP, which binds to and inactivates bacterial DNA. This biologically designed technology delivers a gene encoding SASP to the target bacteria. The bacteria then read the delivered SASP gene and make the antibiotic protein, SASP, in situ. The SASPject technology sidesteps the many ways in which bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, and thus is being developed to target pathogens such as P. aeruginosa for which there is an urgent medical need.

SASPject™ PT3 is being developed against Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections, which can involve any part of the human body, but most commonly cause urinary tract, lung, bloodstream, wound/burn, and intra-abdominal infections. P. aeruginosa is associated with many hospital-acquired infections.

About the Technology Strategy Board

The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency. Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit

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