NovaBiotics Ltd (NovaBiotics) has secured £1.8 million in grant funding as part of a Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) research competition aimed at tackling antimicrobial resistance in humans. The funding is to further develop Novamycin, NovaBiotics’ first-in-class antifungal compound with potential to combat life threatening and drug resistant blood stream and tissue fungal infections.
There is a clear and urgent need for new antifungal treatments for serious and life threatening fungal infections. Novamycin is active against fungi, including drug resistant forms, for which existing therapies do not work. Novamycin also has a unique mechanism of action that mitigates opportunities for resistance in fungi developing in the future. Novamycin is highly differentiated from existing antifungal treatments (of which there are only three main classes versus a dozen or so classes of antibacterial therapy) in how it rapidly kills its target fungi. Novamycin is also not associated with the potentially serious toxicity issues posed by some currently available antifungal treatment options. This is because its provenance is the natural antifungal defence system employed by the body and so unlike other antifungal agents that do not always distinguish healthy human cells from a fungal pathogen, Novamycin has no off-target pharmacology.
The £1.8 million project aims to transform Novamycin from an exciting, laboratory-stage antifungal compound to a fully formulated antifungal drug candidate ready for clinical testing. This would represent a potential breakthrough in advancing Novamycin further towards addressing the significant need for new, safe, effective and therapies for life-threatening invasive fungal infections.
The grant was made as part of a £10 million Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition run by Innovate UK on behalf of DHSC, with the aim of supporting the implementation of the Government’s UK Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy.
Dr Deborah O’Neil, CEO of NovaBiotics, commented: “This award allows us to accelerate the next key stage of Novamycin’s development towards being a much-needed solution to life threatening fungal infections against which the limited number of existing therapies are ineffective. This is a somewhat neglected and under-invested area of antimicrobial research and so we are delighted to have received this strategic funding through the SBRI contract as part of the Government’s commitment to combatting antimicrobial resistance.”
Dr Kath Mackay, Interim Director – Ageing Society, Health & Nutrition, Innovate UK said:
“Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest global challenges in healthcare. It has been estimated that the AMR threat could lead to 10 million extra deaths a year and cost the global economy up to £75 trillion by 2050.
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Novamycin is a novel antifungal drug being developed by NovaBiotics from its NP339 antifungal peptide platform. Novamycin is intended for front-line treatment of medically unmet, tissue and bloodstream (i.e. invasive) fungal infections caused by difficult to treat and drug resistant moulds and yeasts (including Aspergillus fumigatus and Candida auris). Untreated, invasive fungal disease (IFD) can have a mortality rate of 100% and even with treatment, mortality is as high as 80% of patients infected with certain fungi. With an ageing global population and more frequent medical interventions that suppress immunity and allow life-threatening fungal infections to establish (chemotherapy for cancer, immunosuppresants, transplant, etc.), IFD is occuring more frequently, placing more lives at risk and greater burdens on global healthcare systems.
NovaBiotics Ltd www.novabiotics.co.uk is a leading clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the design and development of first-in-class therapies for difficult-to-treat, medically unmet infectious diseases caused by bacteria and fungi and respiratory conditions including cystic fibrosis. A leading innovator in the anti-infectives space, the Company’s robust technology and business model has been validated through successful development, from concept to clinic, of a number of its product candidates. NovaBiotics also has a successful track record in securing significant funding and the most appropriate commercial collaborations to enable the delivery of the company’s high value medicinal candidates to markets of significant worth.
For further information please contact:
Erikka Askeland – Director
0044 (0)1224 360456
Dr. Deborah O’Neil – CEO & CSO
0044 (0)1224 711377