ContraFect Announces Funding Agreement with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Initial evaluation of Direct Lytic Agents (DLAs) as potential novel modalities to address lung infections caused by antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacterial pathogens in Cystic Fibrosis
YONKERS, New York, Aug. 25, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ContraFect Corporation (Nasdaq:CFRX), a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of direct lytic agents (DLAs), including lysins and amurin peptides, as new medical modalities for the treatment of life-threatening, antibiotic-resistant infections, today announced that it has entered into an initial funding agreement with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to investigate the potential utility of DLAs against resistant Gram-negative pathogens which afflict Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients. The first stage of the agreement will profile funding for the in vitro activity of ContraFect’s next product candidate, CF-370, an engineered lysin targeting Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and amurin peptides, against bacterial specimens obtained from CF patients at different stages of disease. With supportive data, ContraFect plans to evaluate future clinical development of CF-370 and/or amurin peptides as therapeutic candidates for the treatment of exacerbations in CF lung disease.
“We are thrilled to announce this agreement with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to examine our DLAs as novel potential therapeutic modalities for CF lung infections. Individuals living with CF are frequently burdened with life-threatening lung infections resulting from highly drug-resistant Gram-negative bacterial pathogens, including but not limited to Pseudomonas aeruginosa and there is an urgent need for new treatment approaches. We believe that our DLA approach has promise to address these infections and provide meaningful therapeutic benefit to these patients,” said Cara Cassino, M.D., Executive Vice President of Research & Development and Chief Medical Officer of ContraFect. “The opportunity to develop DLAs in CF highlights the broad therapeutic potential of our novel approach, as we continue to identify and evaluate additional new target diseases.”
Pathogenic bacteria are known to be a major contributor to CF disease. The lungs of CF patients are typically colonized with pathogenic bacteria, that damage the epithelial surfaces and lead to the growth of highly resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is associated with further epithelial surface damage, and an overall decline in pulmonary function. Chronic lung infections are known to be a main cause of lung function deterioration and ultimately mortality in CF patients. Therefore, there is strong rationale supporting the development of novel therapeutics targeting the specific pathogens associated with this disease.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will provide ContraFect with financial support for research activities. Further financial details were not provided. ContraFect retains global rights for CF-370 and its entire DLA therapeutic pipeline.
About Cystic Fibrosis:
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a rare, life-shortening genetic disease affecting approximately 75,000 people worldwide. CF is a progressive, multi-system disease that affects the lungs, liver, GI tract, sinuses, sweat glands, pancreas and reproductive tract. People with CF who have chronic infections are at greater risk for worsening lung disease, and infection remains a top concern of both patients and clinicians. Many individuals also suffer severe side effects from long-term antibiotic use, such as hearing loss, and are at increased risk of developing antibiotic-resistant infections.
ContraFect is a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of direct lytic agents (DLAs), including lysins and amurin peptides, as new medical modalities for the treatment of life-threatening, antibiotic-resistant infections. An estimated 700,000 deaths worldwide each year are attributed to antimicrobial-resistant infections. We intend to address life threatening infections using our therapeutic product candidates from our platform of DLAs, which include lysins and amurin peptides. Lysins are a new class of DLAs which are recombinantly produced antimicrobial proteins with a novel mechanism of action associated with the rapid killing of target bacteria, eradication of biofilms and synergy with conventional antibiotics. Amurin peptides are a novel class of DLAs which exhibit broad-spectrum activity against a wide range of antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative pathogens, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa), Acinetobacter baumannii, and Enterobacter species. We believe that the properties of our lysins and amurin peptides will make them suitable for targeting antibiotic-resistant organisms, such as methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (MRSA) and P. aeruginosa, which can cause serious infections such as bacteremia, pneumonia and osteomyelitis. We have completed a Phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of Staph aureus bacteremia, including endocarditis, with our lead lysin candidate, exebacase, which is the first lysin to enter clinical studies in the U.S. Exebacase, currently being studied in a pivotal Phase 3 clinical study, was granted Breakthrough Therapy designation by the FDA for the treatment of MRSA bloodstream infections (bacteremia), including right-sided endocarditis, when used in addition to standard-of-care anti-staphylococcal antibiotics in adult patients.
This press release contains, and our officers and representatives may make from time to time, “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the U.S. federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as “projects,” “may,” “will,” “could,” “would,” “should,” “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “intends,” “plans,” “potential,” “promise” or similar references to future periods. Examples of forward-looking statements in this release include, without limitation, statements regarding: the funding agreement between ContraFect and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, whether DLAs can address lung infections caused by antibiotic-resistant Gram negative bacterial pathogens in Cystic Fibrosis, ContraFect’s ability to discover and develop DLAs as new medical modalities for the treatment of life-threatening, antibiotic-resistant infections, whether the first stage of the funding agreement will profile in vitro activity of CF-370 against bacterial specimens obtained from CF patients, whether ContraFect will be able to evaluate future clinical development of CF-370 and/or amurin peptides as therapeutic candidates for the treatment of exacerbations in CF lung disease, statements made by Dr. Cassino, whether ContraFect receives financial support from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for research activities, ContraFect’s ability to address life-threatening infections using its DLA platform, whether lysins are a new class of DLAs which are recombinantly produced, antimicrobial proteins with a novel mechanism of action associated with the rapid killing of target bacteria, eradication of biofilms and synergy with conventional antibiotics, whether amurins are a novel class of DLAs which exhibit broad-spectrum activity against a wide range of antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative pathogens, and whether the properties of ContraFect’s lysins and amurins will make them suitable for targeting antibiotic-resistant organisms, such as MRSA and P. aeruginosa. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts, nor assurances of future performance. Instead, they are based on ContraFect’s current beliefs, expectations and assumptions regarding the future of its business, future plans, strategies, projections, anticipated events and trends, the economy and other future conditions. Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they are subject to inherent risks, uncertainties and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond ContraFect’s control, including those detailed under the caption “Risk Factors” in ContraFect's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ include, among others, our ability to develop treatments for drug-resistant infectious diseases. Any forward-looking statement made by ContraFect in this press release is based only on information currently available and speaks only as of the date on which it is made. Except as required by applicable law, ContraFect expressly disclaims any obligations to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.
Investor Relations Contacts:
Carlo Tanzi, Ph.D.
Kendall Investor Relations
Released August 25, 2020