A Phase Ib trial will assess the capacity of Symphogen’s antibody to direct an antibiotic to Staphylococcus infections for their effective treatment.
Symphogen focuses on the development of antibodies for the treatment of cancer, but will receive a $5M (€4.2M) milestone payment from Genentech for the use of one of its antibodies against Staphylococcus aureus infections. It is from this bacterial strain that superbugs like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have arisen, which are responsible for around 700,000 deaths each year. The milestone has been triggered by the initiation of a Phase Ib trial assessing the safety and tolerability of Genentech’s candidate, DSTA4637S, which combines Symphogen’s antibody with an antibiotic agent.
Staphylococcus aureus infections are particularly deadly, with an annual incidence of up to 46 people per 100,000 and 10-30% of these patients dying. Symphogen discovered an antibody targeting the dangerous bacterial strain by isolating antibodies from infected individuals. A human monoclonal antibody was developed and bound to an antibiotic agent so that it can be delivered directly to Staphylococcus aureus cells.
Another company that has taken its cancer-fighting technology into the infectious diseases field is Immunocore, which received $40M (€33M) investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a treatment for tuberculosis.
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