ContraFect Announces $6.94 Million in Funding from CARB-X

ContraFect Corporation recently announced that the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X) has awarded the company up to $6.94 million in non-dilutive funding to accelerate the development of its newly discovered and proprietary class of amurin peptides as potential therapeutics to treat serious and potentially life-threatening infections, including those caused by antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative ESKAPE pathogens. The company intends to progress these compounds as quickly as possible through hit-to-lead and optimization toward clinical development as potential treatments for pulmonary exacerbations of cystic fibrosis and hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia (HABP), including ventilator associated bacterial pneumonia (VABP). The award commits initial funding up to $1.75 million, and ContraFect is eligible to receive an additional $5.19 million from CARB-X contingent on reaching certain project milestones.

“We are excited to have CARB-X support the development of our novel class of amurin peptides, our second program to receive CARB-X funding this year. In January, we announced the agreement that extends and increases our award to develop a novel lysin-based treatment for antibiotic-resistant P. aeruginosa,” said Steven C. Gilman, PhD, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ContraFect. “We believe our new class of phage-encoded lytic agents, or amurins, may offer a complimentary alternative to conventional antibiotics to combat resistant Gram-negative ESKAPE pathogens, which pose an enormous threat to public health worldwide. With the number of deaths due to bacterial infection approaching 700,000 worldwide, there is a tremendous need for new, more effective treatment options.”

Amurins discovered in the company’s research laboratory exhibit potent, broad spectrum activity against all Gram-negative ESKAPE pathogens (P. aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Enterobacter cloacae, and Acinetobacter baumannii) as well as Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium in in vitro profiling studies. Amurins have also shown the ability to clear biofilms and act synergistically with a range of standard of care anti-Gram-negative antibiotics.

CARB-X is a Boston University global partnership dedicated to accelerating early development antibacterial R&D to address the rising global threat of drug-resistant bacteria. CARB-X funding is provided by US Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), the Wellcome Trust, a global charity based in the UK working to improve health globally, the UK Department of Health and Social Care’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund (UK GAMRIF), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with in-kind support from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). A non-profit partnership, CARB-X is investing up to $500+ million from 2016-2021 to support innovative antibiotics and other therapeutics, vaccines, rapid diagnostics and devices. CARB-X supports the world’s largest and most innovative pipeline of preclinical products against drug-resistant infections. CARB-X focuses exclusively on high priority drug-resistant bacteria, especially Gram-negatives. CARB-X is based at Boston University School of Law. Follow us on Twitter @CARB_X.

ContraFect is a biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing therapeutic protein and antibody products for life-threatening, drug-resistant infectious diseases, particularly those treated in hospital settings. An estimated 700,000 deaths worldwide each year are attributed to antimicrobial-resistant infections. We intend to address life threatening infections using our therapeutic product candidates from our lysin and monoclonal antibody platforms to target conserved regions of either bacteria or viruses (regions that are not prone to mutation). Lysins are a new therapeutic class of bacteriophage-derived, recombinantly produced, antimicrobial proteins with a novel mechanism of action associated with the rapid killing of target bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant strains. ContraFect’s lead lysin candidate, exebacase (CF-301) is completing a Phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of Staphylococcus aureus (Staph aureus) bacteremia, including endocarditis and is the first lysin to enter clinical studies in the US.