As part of the Infection Research Initiative, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation awarded the pharmaceutical company Microbion $5.6 million to develop a novel antibiotic, pravibismane, that could help break down biofilms and kill drug-resistant bacteria.
People with CF are susceptible to chronic infections due to abnormally thick, sticky mucus in their lungs which traps bacteria in the airways. These bacteria often form colonies surrounded by a protective outer layer known as biofilms, a community of bacteria that adheres to surfaces and is able to cause chronic infections. Biofilms tend to allow bacteria to both evade the immune system and to become more resistant to antibiotics. At least 80 percent of infections involve bacteria that have formed biofilms, making it an important target when fighting hard-to-treat infections.
In lab tests, Microbion's drug candidate pravibismane was able to kill drug-resistant bacteria and their biofilms, including those that pose a higher risk for people with CF such as multi-drug resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa and nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM). The CF Foundation funding, along with an award of up to $11.5 million from the nonprofit CARB-X
, will support preclinical development and Phase 1 clinical trial testing of an inhaled form of pravibismane in people with cystic fibrosis.
The new research funded by the Foundation and CARB-X will further explore the potential of pravibismane to kill drug-resistant bacteria and their biofilms and test its safety as an inhaled treatment for people with CF. If the results are positive, the antibiotic could next move into a larger clinical study to test its effectiveness.
The CF Foundation's Commitment to Antibiotic Development
In 2018, the CF Foundation dedicated $100 million through 2023 to its Infection Research Initiative as part of a sweeping effort to advance infection research. Currently, the CF Foundation is funding 12 new industry programs to develop treatments for CF-related infections.
In addition to supporting antibiotics research, the Foundation is also advocating for Congress to create solutions that promote a robust, sustainable pipeline of antibiotics.
Learn more about the Infection Research Initiative.