Procarta Biosystems, a privately held UK-based biotech company, announced €1.5m of new funding from the Novo Holdings REPAIR Impact Fund to support development of novel therapies to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The new funding will be used to develop a pipeline of an entirely new class of antibiotic precision medicines from Procarta’s proprietary oligonucleotide-based antimicrobial platform.
Procarta’s lead asset, PRO-202, is in preclinical development to treat complicated urinary tract infections (cUTI) and complicated intra-abdominal infections (cIAI). The ESKAPE pathogens (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species) are responsible for a significant proportion of cUTIs and cIAIs throughout the world. Moreover, ESKAPE pathogens represent the greatest risk of antibiotic resistance of all clinical infections. Of particular note are the carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), a sub-group of Gram-negative bacteria, e.g. Escherichia coli and Klebsiella species, which are resistant to the carbapenem class of antimicrobials. CRE are often considered as the worst new “superbugs” as these bacteria can kill up to half of the patients who develop bloodstream infections from these pathogens. Worryingly, carbapenem resistance is growing exponentially – resistant Klebsiella rose from 0.6% to 5.4% between 2004 and 2008 in the US, and in Thailand 70% of Pseudomonas infections are carbapenem resistant.