, the specialist in commercialising university intellectual property, announced that its portfolio company Amprologix, has been awarded £1.2 million from the UK Department for Health and Social Care to accelerate the development of its lead antibiotic candidate to fight antimicrobial resistant MRSA and related superbugs.
The funds, administered by Innovate UK, as part of the Small Business Research Initiative, will be used to make the Company’s epidermicin NI01 antibiotic ready for phase 1 human clinical trials during early 2021.
Epidermicin NI01 is the lead candidate being developed by Amprologix, a spin out from the University of Plymouth. It is in a new family of Epidermicin-based antibiotics, derived from bacteria found on human skin.
Professor Mathew Upton, chief scientific officer at Amprologix, said: "I feel very strongly that Epidermicin has excellent potential for use in nasal decolonisation to prevent skin and wound infections, like those caused by MRSA.”
“Development of NI01 could have immense benefits for patients, so I'm genuinely excited about this work and generating the data needed to enter phase 1 trials."
The first product is expected to be a nasal cream containing NI01 to prevent MRSA infections. Professor Upton will be working on optimising the formulation of Epidermicin and conducting a pre-clinical toxicology evaluation.
Amprologix will then license the optimised microbial based production technology from Ingenza’s biologics manufacturing platform in order to produce the new antibiotics at scale. Ingenza is a leader in industrial biotechnology and synthetic biology as well as a shareholder in Frontier IP.
Work conducted to date shows a single dose of Epidermicin was as effective as six doses of the current gold standard treatment in a relevant model of MRSA infection.
Antimicrobial-resistant bacteria kill more than 25,000 people a year in Europe, while MRSA was named in 2017 as a "high priority" target for antibiotic research by the World Health Organisation.
Dr Gordon Barker, chief executive officer of Amprologix, said "Despite the urgent need for new antibiotics and new approaches to treatment, it remains extremely difficult to fund new drug discovery ventures in this space.”
“The government-backed SBRI programme is a world-leading scheme to address this market failure and we're really grateful for their support, which will accelerate the development of next generation life-saving medicines like NI01."
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