PharmaCytics and Madam Therapeutics announce collaboration to develop a new class of oral anti-biotics

The 2 Dutch biotech companies PharmaCytics and Madam Therapeutics have announced that they will develop a new class of antibiotics that do not need to be injected but can be taken as a pill. Madam Therapeutics develops the new antibiotics based on their SAAP platform, PharmaCytics provides the technology to administer in pill form.

Resistance to antibiotics is an increasing problem worldwide. In the US, someone gets a bacterial or fungal infection that is resistant to antibiotics every 11 seconds and someone dies from it every 15 minutes, the CDC reports. In Europe, 33,000 people die every year from an infection that can no longer be treated. A urinary tract infection with a resistant bacterium can sometimes be fatal.

The need for new antibiotics is therefore great. Madam Therapeutics specializes in the development of a new generation of antibiotics, the so-called SAAPs. SAAPs stands for Synthetic Antimicrobial and Antibiofilm Peptides. Remko van Leeuwen, CEO of the company: “We develop peptides, small molecules, which work very differently from current antibiotics. Most antibiotics work quite slowly, but our SAAPs pierce a hole in the bacteria from the outside, causing it to drain and die. Compare it with an inflated balloon that is punctured. We have a whole arsenal of peptides that work this way. Because it is so fast, bacteria have little or no chance of developing resistance to this new generation of antibiotics. ”

The problem faced by Madam Therapeutics and other manufacturers of these new antibiotics is the method of administration. Peptides are small molecules that are broken down quickly when they enter the body. They will not survive a stay in the stomach anyway. Hence, such antibiotics almost always have to be injected, which greatly limits their use. This is where the expertise of PharmaCytics comes into play. The company has developed the Nutrient Drug Conjugate technology (NDCt), which allows them to disguise all kinds of medicines as food. They are now also going to do this with the peptides with an antimicrobial effect.

Han van ‘t Klooster, CEO of PharmaCytics: “Our technique links a food group to the peptides, causing the digestive tract to think it is related to nutrients. Due to this disguise, they are excellently absorbed by the intestines into the bloodstream. The greater uptake – bioavailability – may even allow for a lower dosage. Once in the bloodstream, the link is broken and the peptides can exert their antibacterial effect. In short, with our technique, we go from injection to pill.” 

There is a great need for new, powerful antibiotics in pill form with less risk of resistance. Both PharmaCytics and Madam Therapeutics emphasize the importance of this for the patient. Such drugs can make a major contribution to reducing the number of deaths and the enormous health damage caused by antibiotic resistance. The collaboration between the two innovative Dutch biotech companies has been facilitated by PharmaTide Invest.