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Swiss vaccine developer Limma Tech get CARB-X grant

Swiss multivalent vaccine developer LimmaTech Biologics AG has been awarded US$2.2m rom the Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X).

LimmaTech said, it will use the grant to advance preclinical development of its hexavalent vaccine candidate targeting Neisseria gonorrheae. Using gonorhea models, the vaccine candidates overcame the bacteria’s natural immune evasion mechanisms, thereby restricting the increase of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) to this pathogen. The pathogen is being recognized as a Priority Bacterial Pathogen by the WHO.

Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported sexually-transmitted bacterial infection. Approximately 82 million people were infected globally in 2020. Patients with gonorrhea can face serious health effects, including pelvic inflammatory disease, chronic pain, infertility, and an increased risk of contracting HIV. Since patients do not always exhibit symptoms, reported cases may only capture a fraction of the true burden.

According to Erin Duffy, R&D Chief of CARB-X, “resistant strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae have evaded all but one existing antibiotic (ceftriaxone).” The goal of CARB-X would it to support the “development of a cost-effective vaccine that elicits a robust immune response against different Neisseria gonorrhoeae strains to help protect patients in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where affordability is vital and around the world.

When CARB-X was founded in 2016, the early-stage antibiotic pipeline was stalled. Since then, 18 pfrom 97 selected projects have advanced into or completed clinical trials; 12 remain active in clinical development, including late-stage clinical trials; and two diagnostic products have reached the market. Most recently, CARB-X got support from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, which has stopped its investment in developers of antimicrobial treatments.