- Infection-focused bioengineering startup EnBiotix has picked up venture-backed AMP Therapeutics and its antimicrobial peptide portfolio, leading to the creation of EnBiotix GmbH.
- EnBiotix will use AMPT's antimicrobial peptides, which are based on naturally occurring peptides found as part of the normal immune response, as potential payloads for its engineered phage platform and as stand-alone therapies in both human and animal health indications.
- At the same time, EnBiotix plans to collaborate with Leipzing University and AMPT's co-founder Ralf Hoffmann to optimize the anti-microbial peptides for use against ventilator-associated and hospital-acquired pneumonia.
Antibiotic development is a challenging field. On one hand, careful use of the drugs is vital for treating infectious disease and carrying out safe surgery. Yet uncontrolled use of antibiotics has led to a rapid rise in resistant infections, creating a huge area of unmet need in a space with lower financial incentives for innovation.
By acquiring a portfolio of peptides with a different approach to classical antibiotics, EnBiotix hopes to take an alternative route in developing drugs for bacterial infections.
“AMPT has discovered and developed unique families of anti-microbial peptides which are very potent, non-toxic to human cells and which possess broad spectrum anti-bacterial activity. Given the novel mechanism of actions, we think that these anti-microbial peptides offer a potential complement or alternative to existing drug classes. We think that there is a need that a product from this class could service immediately," Jeff Wager, chair and CEO of EnBiotix, said to BioPharma Dive.
There have been concerns about crossover resistance where similar antibiotics are used to treat both humans and animals for food use. EnBiotix is developing candidates for both, but according to Wager, the company plans to develop products independently for the human and animal health fields.
The antibiotics market is potentially worth $40 billion, but the number of large companies working in the space has declined. While smaller biotechs and academics are developing promising antibiotics, antibiotic potentiators and other alternatives, the challenge will be to win the backing of the big pharma.
Acquiring AMPT, which was backed by Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and Novartis Venture Fund, may give EnBiotix the step towards the big pharma support it will need.