GAITHERSBURG, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Adaptive Phage Therapeutics (APT), a clinical-stage biotechnology company founded to provide an effective therapeutic response to the global rise of multi-drug resistant (MDR) pathogenic bacteria, today announced the Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded APT a contract of $10.2 million for the development of PhageBankTM a personalized bacteriophage therapeutic for the treatment of bacterial infections. The award is designated to conduct a clinical trial, with the goal of making PhageBank phage therapy available to treat multidrug-resistant (MDR) and complicated infections.
“This is a promising step toward making phage therapy available to military and potentially non-military patients alike as a rapid and cost-effective option for multi-drug resistant bacterial infections. Building on the US military’s impressive history in antimicrobial research, including the advanced development of penicillin prior to the Second World War, APT’s PhageBank is now the first phage-based therapy to be selected by the Department of Defense for advanced development,” said Greg Merril, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of APT. “APT’s proprietary technologies enable the rapid administration of phage therapy as a precise treatment tailored to a patient’s individual infection. Our dynamic, adaptive approach translates to a therapeutic option that potentially will target a broadening spectrum of bacteria over time.”
According to Cmdr. Christopher Duplessis, a researcher at Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC), “As antibiotics become less effective, the need for alternative options becomes a matter of significant public health importance. Phage therapy was initially developed by NMRC’s Biological Defense Research Directorate (BDRD), in response to MDR and complicated bacterial infections among service members. Recent technological advances, as well as the emerging threat of antibiotic resistance, create a timely opportunity for us to support its broader use. We are proud of the DoD’s role in driving the initial development of this potential therapy and supporting its regulatory pathway to potentially benefit our warfighters and all Americans.”
In 2017, APT acquired the world-wide exclusive commercial rights to PhageBank and related technologies, including its host-range quick test, known as the HRQT companion diagnostic, from the U.S. Navy, as authorized by NMRC. Naturally occurring, phages are viruses that exclusively destroy targeted bacteria – including bacteria that have become resistant to all known antibiotic drugs. PhageBank is a broad-spectrum collection of phages that can be matched, on a patient-specific basis, to a targeted pathogen. APT is advancing the technology through innovation in bioinformatics, rapid phage-bacteria matching and phage purification methods – that could result in an approach capable of providing a precision-matched therapy instantly upon the diagnosis of a drug-resistant pathogen. Over time, PhageBank has been shown to increase in spectrum of coverage, negating the resistance that is common with bacterial evolution.
In response to ongoing, urgent requests from physicians across the world caring for patients with severe infections due to multi-drug resistant pathogens, APT has provided and continues to provide its investigational PhageBank therapy under compassionate use. Phage therapy for the first 13 of these cases that were infected with either one or more MDR bacterial species were published in the July, 2019, issue of the Journal of Intensive and Critical Care Medicine. The article is titled “A Case Series of Emergency Investigational New Drug Applications for Bacteriophages Treating Recalcitrant Multi-drug Resistant Bacterial Infections: Confirmed Safety and a Signal of Efficacy."
APT recently closed an oversubscribed, non-brokered financing, raising approximately $7 million in proceeds. The company estimates a market in excess of $4 billion for its first four planned indications.
Phage therapy was first explored as a potential treatment for bacterial infections in the 1920s, but development was put aside with the advent of antibiotics. Phages are naturally occurring viruses that have existed and co-evolved with bacteria throughout human history. There are unlimited types of phage, each evolved to eradicate one specific bacteria. Most phage pose no threat to humans. With the growing bacterial resistance to antibiotics, there has been renewed interest in phage therapy. Recent scientific advances have enabled bacteria-specific isolation and matching of phage, resulting in a potential fast-acting, cost-effective therapeutic option for multi-drug resistant infections. In nature, phages continue to co-evolve with bacteria, enabling a broad and continually updated universe of potential options for patients with multi-drug resistant infections.
About Adaptive Phage Therapeutics
Adaptive Phage Therapeutics, Inc. (APT) is a clinical-stage company founded to provide an effective therapeutic response to the global rise of multi-drug resistant (MDR) pathogenic bacteria. APT’s core asset is a large and continually expanding phage library (PhageBankTM) deployed with a companion diagnostic to achieve rapid response and cost-effective therapy for otherwise recalcitrant bacterial infections. The technology was developed by the biodefense program of U.S. Department of Defense. APT acquired the world-wide exclusive commercial rights in 2017. Under the FDA emergency Investigational New Drug (eIND) allowance, APT has provided investigational PhageBank therapy to treat 20 critically ill patients in which standard-of-care antibiotics has failed. For more information, visit http://www.aphage.com.