Polyphor, a Swiss specialty pharmaceutical company, is launching the development of an inhaled form of the investigational antibiotic murepavadin (POL7080).
Murepavadin, a type of outer membrane protein targeting antibiotic (OMPTA), acts specifically against the bacterial strain Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is a strain found in patients with several lung diseases, including bronchiectasis, and has proven to be difficult to treat.
Inhaled antibiotics have been shown to be vital in improving survival and quality of life in patients with diseases such as cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis. These patients are known to be at an increased risk for the development of respiratory infections.
Because there are several strains of bacteria that are resistant to conventional antibiotics, additional treatment options are necessary.
The inhaled dose of murepavadin could be used to treat chronic infections by Pseudomonas aeruginosa in patients with cystic fibrosis- and non-cystic fibrosis-associated bronchiectasis.
“Our work has the potential to deliver new inhaled antibiotics that will improve the quality of life and survival of patients with cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis by reducing the number of lung infections, improving lung function, and overcoming antibacterial resistance,” Stuart Elborn, professor of respiratory medicine at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London and principal investigator of the project, said in a press release.
For a faster development of this inhaled antibiotic candidate, Polyphor will take advantage of iABC, a European program which is in place for the development of inhaled antibiotics. iABC is a program composed of leading European lung specialists from 18 research institutions; these centers will receive up to 5 million euros from the Innovative Medicines Initiative for funding the project, and an additional 5 million euros from Polyphor.
iABC was founded to help develop novel, life-saving antibiotics to treat respiratory infections by collaborating with the industry, namely two companies: Polyphor and Novartis.
“Cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis patients are a vulnerable group. They are at particular risk of chronic infection. We are pleased and honored to be selected as one of two industry partners of the iABC consortium to develop an inhaled formulation of murepavadin as a new treatment option,” said Giacomo Di Nepi, chief executive officer of Polyphor.
“Our investigational antibiotic reaches high concentration in the lung and shows a high efficacy against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the main cause of chronic lung infections in cystic fibrosis, affecting the majority of patients … Murepavadin may therefore provide a new important treatment option for patients with cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis,” Di Nepi added.