Mutabilis receives CARB-X grant for 'nightmare bacteria' treatment; AbSci and Xyphos shake hands on discovery deal
On a mission to subdue the rising global threat of antibiotic resistance, the CARB-X initiative has inked yet another grant — this one for a French pharma working on a treatment for so-called “nightmare bacteria.”
Romainville-based Mutabilis is getting up to $6.4 million to develop its preclinical program for Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE) bacteria, dubbed EBL-1463. CRE got the notorious nickname “nightmare bacteria,” because of its tendency to cause deadly infections in healthcare settings. And it can’t be treated with existing antibiotics, according to CARB-X.
EBL-1463, an intravenous drug, is in a new class of non-beta-lactam inhibitors of penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs) called dabocins. If certain milestones are met, Mutabilis is entitled to another $5.8 million, subject to available funds.
CARB-X is a global partnership looking to spur the development of new antibacterial drugs. Despite increases in resistance to current antibiotics, Big Pharma has retreated from the risky field, fraught with cheap generics and poor financial returns. CARB-X has promised to invest up to $480 million in the cause between 2016 to 2022.
“The goal is to support projects through the early phases of development so that they will attract additional private or public support for further clinical development and regulatory approval for use in patients,” CARB-X said in a statement.
Since its launch, CARB-X has announced 78 awards worth more than $284.4 million, not counting potential milestones.
AbSci and Xyphos shake hands on discovery deal
A month after buying AI outfit Denovium to build on its protein printing platform, AbSci has inked a deal offering its screening capabilities to Xyphos BioSciences, a subsidiary of Astellas.
Xyphos’ tech platform includes the use of a bispecific antibody-like adaptor molecule, which it has dubbed the MicAbody. AbSci has agreed to use its screening tech to inform Xyphos’ selection of optimal variants of its MicAbody lead candidate for further development and cGMP manufacturing. The companies are keeping mum about the financial terms of the deal for now.
AbSci was founded in 2011 in Portland. The biotech, now based in Vancouver, Washington, has been working on a more efficient way to manufacture proteins — from full-length antibodies to insulin — using E. coli. It went commercial in 2018 with its E. Coli expression platform, SoluPro, for producing soluble, complex proteins in high yields. The following year, it introduced its protein printing platform, which builds on SoluPro with technology designed to pump out high-diversity strain libraries and high-throughput screening assays.
Last month, AbSci bought Denovium and its AI engine, which is built to predict the function and behavior of proteins. CEO Sean McClain says it can be further trained using billions of data points on manufacturability, functionality and expression.