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Phico Therapeutics awarded up to $18.2 million to advance SASPject antibacterial therapy through Phase 1 clinical trials

Phico Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing engineered phage technology as the basis of a new generation of antibiotics to overcome antibacterial resistance, has been awarded a grant of up to US$18.2 million from Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X), a global non-profit partnership dedicated to accelerating antibacterial research.

The funding will support the progression of Phico’s lead product SASPject PT3.9 through clinical trials with $5.3 million available immediately and a further $12.9 million contingent on reaching specific project milestones.

SASPject PT3.9 has been developed for the intravenous treatment of hospital infections due to Pseudomonas aeruginosa using Phico’s SASPject platform. The platform utilises unique antibacterial small acid-soluble spore proteins (SASP) which target selected bacterial species to inactivate bacterial DNA, stopping them from metabolising or reproducing. The Phase I clinical trials will be first-in-man, intravenous studies and will focus on establishing the safety and kinetics of PT3.9 in healthy volunteers and, potentially, patients with ventilated hospital acquired pneumonia and ventilator associated pneumonia.

P. aeruginosa is a leading cause of pneumonia in hospital patients, especially those on a ventilator. The increasing incidence of strains showing multi-drug antibiotic resistance has resulted in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifying P. aeruginosa as a serious threat to human health. With antimicrobial resistance also listed as a Top 3 Global Health Threat by the World Health Organisation, the SASPject platform could provide a new range of innovative antibiotic treatments to help overcome this challenge.