HALIFAX, NS–Appili Therapeutics Inc. reports that it has secured an additional $400,000 from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP).
The funds will support the company’s anti-infective drug development efforts and brings the total amount of NRC-IRAP support for the company’s projects to $759,000.
The company’s drug portfolio includes ATI-1503, an antibiotic that targets drug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria, including Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobactor baumannii, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. ATI-1503 is a synthetic version of the naturally-occurring Negamycin antibiotic. Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobactor baumannii, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are Gram-negative bacteria with two cellular walls, making it hard for antibiotics to penetrate. As such, these superbugs cause potentially deadly infections, including pneumonia and blood infections.
“Doctors are fast running out of treatment options and IRAP funding is an important part of our financial strategy for helping Appili develop a new antibiotic that can treat these deadly diseases,” said Kimberly Stephens, CFO of Appili Therapeutics.
Additionally, these superbugs thrive in hospitals and residential care facilities, infecting already vulnerable patients. Because these bacteria are resistant to most antibiotics, they are among the priority pathogens for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization because they pose the highest threat to human health.
With the funds, Appili’s drug development team will employ advanced X-ray crystallography to visualize the exact structure of ATI-1503 binding to the bacterial target. The crystal structure data is then used to systematically and precisely optimize the potency of ATI-1503 against these drug-resistant infections. ATI-1503 holds promise for treating these superbugs because it penetrates the double exterior membranes and attacks the protein generating machinery of Gram-negative bacteria.