Polyphor and Novo Holdings A/S announced that Polyphor has raised CHF 6.8M from the Novo REPAIR Impact Fund to accelerate the development of novel Outer Membrane Protein Targeting Antibiotics (OMPTA) addressing the deadliest and most resistant Gram-negative bacterial pathogens including those designated as a critical concern by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Novo Holdings A/S has committed to invest CHF 6.8M in Polyphor through a capital increase whereby 178,947 new registered shares will be issued at CHF 38 per share from authorized capital. These shares have a lock-up period ending May 15, 2019.
In addition, the fund has committed to make a project-based, royalty-bearing investment of CHF 4.7M in cash at the achievements of predefined milestones of the OMPTA program and customary closing conditions.
This is the first investment of the Novo REPAIR Impact Fund, which was established in February 2018 by Novo Holdings A/S as a separate area of business of the company. The Novo REPAIR Impact Fund is a USD 165M fund focused on investments in companies and projects aiming at combating antimicrobial resistance, particularly the priority pathogens defined by the CDC and the WHO.
The novel Polyphor OMPTA antibiotics target the highest priority Gram-negative ESKAPE[*] pathogens, (Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacter spp) which are the leading cause of severe and often deadly infections throughout the world, such as bloodstream infections and pneumonia. Importantly, this new class of antibiotics is active against strains, which have become resistant to most - and in some cases all - commonly used antibiotics including the "last resort" antibiotic colistin.
Aleks Engel, Director of the Novo REPAIR Impact Fund, commented: "We are proud to announce that our first investment is to accelerate development of a novel therapeutic class, which has the potential to save countless lives. Antimicrobial resistance is projected to kill more people than cancer by 2050, which shows the urgent need for new approaches targeting the most dangerous resistant bacteria."
Giacomo Di Nepi, Chief Executive Officer of Polyphor, added: "The support of the Novo REPAIR Impact Fund will enable us to accelerate and further advance our preclinical candidates targeting resistant Gram-negative bacteria. In addition, it represents an important endorsement of our efforts in finding new antibiotics to combat drug resistance, which is one of the biggest threats to global health. We are honored that the Novo Repair Impact Fund selected our OMPTA program as their first investment and, in this context, by the entry of Novo Holdings A/S in our shareholders' base."
[*] The so-called ESKAPE pathogens include most important bacterial pathogens, the Gram-negative, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacter spp and the Gram-positive pathogens Enterococcus faecium and Staphilococcus aereus