Opsonix is Launched to Develop Pathogen-Extracting Therapy

Opsonix, Inc. recently announced the company’s launch with an $8-million Series A financing to develop a pathogen-extracting therapy designed to remove infectious pathogens and toxins from circulating blood. This treatment potentially offers a new broad-spectrum approach to treat blood-borne infectious diseases, including sepsis. Opsonix will use the proceeds from the financing to advance the development of its extracorporeal pathogen-extracting therapy. The Series A financing was led by Baxter Ventures, alongside of investment by private investor Hansjörg Wyss.

Opsonix’s core technology is based on proprietary pathogen-capture proteins. Its lead molecule is a recombinant human protein derived from mannose binding lectin (MBL) fused to the Fc region of human immunoglobulin (FcMBL). When Opsonix’s FcMBL is attached to the membrane of a dialyzer-type device, it can remove a broad range of bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses, and toxins responsible for initiating the sepsis cascade, including antibiotic-resistant organisms. Opsonix’s pathogen-extracting therapy has been designed to work in synergy with conventional antibiotic treatments.

“Opsonix’s pathogen-extracting therapy provides a novel therapeutic solution leveraging the broad binding activities of a natural human protein that may rapidly remove sepsis-causing pathogens – and the toxins they release – from a patient’s blood,” said Eric Devroe, PhD, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Opsonix. “With our FcMBL-based pathogen-extracting therapy, treatment of blood-borne infectious disease can be initiated earlier in the course of infection, when it is most needed, without having to wait to identify the disease-causing pathogen. With the strong support of our investors and a compelling body of evidence developed by our scientific founders, Opsonix will move forward expeditiously with preclinical studies to advance our pathogen-extracting therapy.”

Opsonix’s pathogen-capture proteins are engineered versions of human blood opsonins – molecular components of the innate immune system that help to clear pathogens and the toxins they release. The company develops therapeutic products by applying recombinant protein engineering to harness the unique binding properties of opsonins that enable them to clear a broad range of infectious microbes and toxic components from blood, which can stimulate the inflammatory cascade that leads to sepsis.

In studies conducted and published by Opsonix’s scientific founders at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, FcMBL-based pathogen-extracting therapies have been shown to work in synergy with conventional antibiotics, as well as to clear blood of antibiotic-resistant organisms. Hence, Opsonix’s sepsis therapy has the potential to be used not only in combination with existing antibiotics, but also to treat patients when conventional therapeutic options are not available.

Opsonix’s scientific founders, Donald Ingber, MD, PhD, and Michael Super, PhD, carried out the original protein engineering and initial design and experimental validation of the FcMBL-enabled pathogen-extracting therapy at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Ingber and Super are pioneers in translating innovative design principles into healthcare products. They are also co-principal investigators on a project for sepsis treatment funded by the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Dialysis-Like Therapeutics Program, which led to the technology that Opsonix is commercializing.

Opsonix is developing pathogen-extracting therapies to transform the treatment of blood borne infectious diseases, including sepsis. The company’s proprietary expertise is creating engineered pathogen-capture proteins derived from opsonins, which are natural components of our innate immune system that bind all types of infectious invaders and toxins, and thereby enable their clearance from our bodies. Opsonix’s lead pathogen-capture protein, FcMBL, is being developed as an extracorporeal therapy that treats blood outside the body to remove a broad range of pathogens and toxins responsible for initiating the sepsis cascade without having to first identify the disease-causing agent.
For more information, visit www.opsonixbio.com.