Appili Therapeutics Signs $3-Million Grant  to Develop Antibiotics That Target Superbugs


Appili Therapeutics Inc. recently announced the United States Department of Defense, (DOD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) has completed the contract awarding the company a $3-million USD grant.

​Appili will use the funds to continue advancing its ATI-1503 antibiotic program, which targets drug-resistant, Gram-negative bacteria also known as ‘superbugs.’ The ATI-1503 program has the ability to target 4 out of 6 “ESKAPE” pathogens, which are the leading cause of hospital acquired infections worldwide1. PRMP grants support military health-related research that has the potential to make a strong impact on patient care.

​“Multi-drug-resistant bacteria continue to spread throughout the world, making them one of the most urgent public health threat we are facing worldwide,” said Kevin Sullivan, CEO of Appili Therapeutics. “We believe that the ATI-1503 program has the potential to address several of the most dangerous superbugs for the military and civilians alike, and we are grateful for PRMRP’s continued support of this promising novel antibiotic class.”

​According to the World Health Organization, drug-resistant bacteria, particularly the superbugs that are resistant to most or sometimes all available anti-infectives, are among the highest threats to human health worldwide. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that they are responsible for more than 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths each year in the U.S. alone. In addition to the widespread civilian vulnerabilities that they present, these superbugs pose serious challenges in both internationally deployed troops and domestic military personnel in veterans’ hospitals. The significance of these threats, and their prevalence worldwide, have made solutions to multi-drug resistant bacteria a priority research area for the Department of Defense (DOD).

Appili’s ATI-1503 program is a new class of antibiotics based on the negamycin scaffold, which is a naturally occurring compound with intrinsic Gram-negative antibacterial activity. The class has broad spectrum activity, which allows it to potentially address the deadliest Gram-negative bacteria, including the superbugs Klebsiella pneumoniaeAcinetobactor baumannii, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These are high priority pathogens for the CDC and WHO because of the lack of effective antibiotic treatment options for the most resistant strains.2 3

This work is supported by the DOD Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs through the PRMRP under Award No. W81XWH1910308. As previously disclosed, Appili was informed of the PRMRP grant in February 2019, but such grant remained subject to finalizing the definitive agreement. Under the terms of PRMRP grants, the investigators conducting this research will adhere to the laws of the United States and regulations of the Department of Agriculture, as well as the CDC-NIH Guide for Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories. For more information, visit http://cdmrp.army.mil.

Appili Therapeutics, Inc. was founded to advance the global fight against infectious disease by matching clearly-defined patient needs with drug development programs that provide solutions to existing challenges patients, doctors, and society face in this challenging disease space. Appili has built pipeline of assets designed to address a broad range of significant unmet medical needs in the infectious disease landscape. This diverse pipeline aims to address some of the most urgent threats in global public health. Via an in-licensing program, Appili acquired the rights to ATI-1701, a vaccine for tularemia, being developed to mitigate the risks of a very serious biological weapons threat. ATI-1503 is a drug discovery program aimed at generating negamycin analogue candidates, which are a novel class of antibiotics with broad-spectrum activity against Gram-negative superbugs. ATI-1501 employs Appili’s proprietary, taste-masked, oral-suspension technology with metronidazole for the growing number of patients with difficulty swallowing. Headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with offices in Mississauga, Ontario, Appili is pursuing worldwide opportunities in collaboration with science and industry commercial partners, governments and government agencies. For more information, visit www.AppiliTherapeutics.com.

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