PROCARTA ANNOUNCES €1.5 MILLION INVESTMENT FOR NEW CLASS OF ANTIBIOTICS TO COMBAT ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE
Press Release - Stevenage, UK, 5th March, 2019 – Procarta Biosystems, a privately held UK-based biotech company, today 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 cUTI and cIAI infections 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.
Dr Andrew Lightfoot, PhD, MBA, Chief Executive Officer of Procarta, commented “The REPAIR Investment comes in alongside investment from Procarta’s founding investor the UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (UKI2S), and Wren Capital, Meltwind and Development Bank Wales. The money will be used to progress our lead asset, PRO-202 and to develop our proprietary drug discovery platform to build a pipeline of antimicrobial agents to cover the ESKAPE pathogens.
“If the industry keeps prosecuting the same antibiotic drug targets, we will get the same answers, i.e. growing antimicrobial resistance. At Procarta, we believe it is time to explore novel modalities and targets to precipitate a paradigm shift in antimicrobial research. We are delighted that the REPAIR Impact Fund shares our vision and recognises the potential of Procarta’s novel approach.”
Aleks Engel, PhD, Director of the REPAIR Impact Fund, commented “Procarta’s transcription factor decoy platform is precisely the type of novel modality that we hoped we would find when we launched the fund a year ago. We see the technology as having immense potential as the basis for new approaches to new therapeutics development in infectious disease and beyond.”