REINACH, SWITZERLAND--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Vaxxilon, a privately held company working on synthetic vaccines, has been awarded a grant of up to $1.4 million from CARB-X, with the possibility of $3.1 million more based on the achievement of milestones, to develop the first prophylactic vaccine for the prevention of carbapenem resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (crKP).
“The complete CARB-X award will enable us to conduct the full preclinical development, GMP manufacturing, and a Phase I clinical trial for VXN-319, a semi-synthetic conjugate vaccine,” according to Tom Monroe, CEO of Vaxxilon. “Carbapenem resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae is spreading quickly around the world and Vaxxilon’s novel vaccine, if approved, could prevent infections, save lives, and reduce the pressure for use of powerful antibiotics. Carbapenems are a powerful class of antibiotics and when those treatments are ineffective in patients, the infections become very difficult to treat.”
Arne von Bonin, Vaxxilon CSO and Head of Immunology, added “crKP is a major public health threat which is usually acquired in hospital settings. It is an invasive disease causing bloodstream, urinary tract and surgical site infections as well as ventilator assisted pneumonia. It has high morbidity and mortality rates so a crKP-specific vaccine could have a major impact on this superbug.”
“Vaccines are vital tools in the fight against disease and drug-resistant bacteria, with the potential to prevent infections and reduce the spread of life-threatening bacteria,” said Kevin Outterson, Executive Director of CARB-X and Professor of Law at Boston University. “Vaxxilon’s vaccine, if approved for use in patients, could prevent deadly infections and save the lives of thousands of patients in hospitals worldwide who might otherwise contract infections and die.”
K. pneumoniae are Gram-negative bacteria commonly found in the body and in the environment that can cause severe infections primarily in intensive-care and other hospitalized patients. There are multiple strains of K. pneumoniae, many of which have become increasingly resistant to antibiotics, making treatment of infection by these strains very challenging. Such infections are associated with high mortality which can be greater than 50% according to some studies.
VXN-319 is a carbohydrate based vaccine currently at the lead optimization stage. Vaxxilon estimates it would provide protection against more than 80% of carbapenem resistant strains. Vaxxilon synthesizes the carbohydrates that resemble the sugar coating which surrounds each bacterial cell. The synthetic carbohydrates are then combined with other components to create conjugate vaccines similar to those that have been approved to prevent infections from bacteria such as Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae type B.
Vaxxilon, based in Reinach, Switzerland, is privately held by Idorsia Ltd, the Max Planck Society, and Seeberger Science. It was established in 2015 to discover and develop novel vaccines against major infectious diseases. The innovative technologies are based on the scientific insights and research of Professor Peter Seeberger of the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces. Vaxxilon is advancing several vaccine candidates using homogeneous, rationally designed, synthetically produced carbohydrate antigens and novel carrier molecules. www.vaxxilon.com
ABOUT CARB-X: Partnership driving antibacterial innovation globally
The CARB-X portfolio is the world’s largest antibacterial development portfolio with 29 projects in five countries. Since its inception in 2016, CARB-X has announced awards for 46 projects in seven countries exceeding $135 million, with the possibility of additional funds if project milestones are met, to accelerate the development of antibacterial products. These funds are in addition to investments made by the companies themselves. As well as funding, CARB-X provides business and scientific support for projects through the CARB-X Global Accelerator Network, a network of 9 expert organizations around the world. The CARB-X pipeline will continuously evolve, as projects progress or fail.
CARB-X is investing up to $500 million in antibacterial R&D between 2016-2021 to support the development of new antibiotics, vaccines, diagnostics and other products. The goal is to support projects through the early phases of development through Phase 1, so that they will attract additional support for further clinical development and approval for use in patients. The scope of CARB-X funding is restricted to projects that target drug-resistant bacteria highlighted on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s 2013 Antibiotic Resistant Threats list, or the Priority Bacterial Pathogens list published by the WHO in 2017 – with a priority on those pathogens deemed Serious or Urgent on the CDC list or Critical or High on the WHO list.
CARB-X is led by Boston University and funding is provided by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Wellcome Trust, a global charity based in the UK working to improve health globally, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the UK Department of Health and Social Care’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund (GAMRIF), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and with in-kind support from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). CARB-X is headquartered in the Boston University School of Law.