Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics (CFFT), the drug discovery and development affiliate of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), has awarded Aridis Pharmaceuticals a grant to support the clinical development of Panaecin (gallium citrate), an antibacterial drug candidate for treating lung infections.
The funding will cover development costs through Phase 2a studies in cystic fibrosis patients.
Aridis will work closely with CFF’s Therapeutics Development Network, which brings together experts from around the country to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of new CF therapies through clinical studies.
The investigational drug Panaecin is being developed as an inhalable aerosol treatment for bacterial lung infections, like those that affect patients with CF and other life-threatening lung diseases. The drug has been shown, in in vitro studies, to have broad bactericidal activity against gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria.
The active ingredient in Panaecin is gallium, which works as an iron analog and inhibits iron-dependent enzymatic pathways essential for bacteria.
Panaecin was initially developed as an antibacterial treatment against P. aeruginosa lung infections, which affect approximately 80 percent of adult CF patients. However, in preclinical studies, Panaecin was seen to also have antimicrobrial activity against other lung infections caused by bacteria, such as S. aureus, methicillin-resistant S. aureus, and B. cepacia.
“We are delighted to receive a significant award from CFFT,” Vu Truong, PhD, founder and CEO of Aridis, said in a press release. “This funding support highlights the potential of Panaecin for the treatment of lung infections, such as chronic infection by gram-negative bacteria P. aeruginosa, which affects approximately 80 percent of adult patients with cystic fibrosis. Additionally, having the support of CFFT in a collaboration on the studies for Panaecin will help expedite our research in the hopes of providing a new anti-infective treatment for patients with this disease.”
Truong said the award “adds to Aridis’ history of attaining nondilutive funding [which doesn’t require the company to give up shares], which now includes more than 15 awards since the company’s inception.”
“It is another testament to the strength of Aridis’ technology and its potential benefits for patients, including those with cystic fibrosis,” he said.