smartbax, a biotech company developing next-generation antibiotics against multi-drug resistant bacteria, today announced the close of its seed financing round of €1.2 million ($1.3 million) from Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF) and High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), bringing smartbax’s total capital raised to €1.9 million ($2.1 million).
The funds will be used to advance smartbax’s small molecule antibiotics through preclinical studies, expand the company’s scientific team to further develop its innovative research platforms and identify novel solutions against multi-drug resistant pathogens. In contrast to classical anti-bacterial approaches, smartbax’s product candidates act via a unique, double-targeted mechanism of action. This not only inhibits essential processes in the energy metabolism of multi-resistant bacteria, but also creates a stimulation of the bacteria’s protein secretion, which leads to a self-digest of the cells.
“The growing number of multi-drug resistant infections, which are accountable for 1.3 million annual worldwide deaths, highlights the need for completely new approaches in treating resistant infections. We are convinced that our differentiating approach can overcome the limitations of currently available antibiotics and that we can thus develop effective therapeutics against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria,” said Robert Macsics, CEO and co-founder of smartbax.
smartbax was founded in 2021 by Macsics, Marco Janezic, and Stephan Sieber, and was supported by BIVF with a first pre-seed financing of €700,000 ($755,000). The company’s scientific foundation is based on research derived by Sieber’s research group from the Technical University of Munich. The research was awarded the VIP+ validation prize by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as well as the m4 award by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy.
“The novel mechanisms of action being developed by smartbax could open new pathways in the treatment of severe bacterial infections. Moreover, the approach has the promise to overcome existing resistance mechanisms and makes a rapid spread of new resistances unlikely,” said Angelika Vlachou, partner at HTGF.
“The development of novel antibiotics is an important contribution to fight multi-drug resistant bacterial infections. smartbax’s founding team takes a highly innovative approach with the potential for broad applicability in numerous indications,” added Sebastian Kreuz, investment manager at BIVF.