The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has awarded a $692,000, two-year contract to Calibr, the drug discovery and development arm of Scripps Research, to screen for a compound that could be used to treat infections caused by the 22 bacterial species known as Burkholderia cepacia complex.
B. cepacia complex infections among people with cystic fibrosis are rare -- only 2.6 percent of the U.S. CF population cultured positive in 2018 -- but severe, and there are few treatments available. People with CF who have one particular species of B. cepacia -- B. cenocepacia -- are often rejected as transplant candidates by many lung transplant centers because there is a chance of severe infections after the transplant.
Scientists at Calibr, based in La Jolla, Calif., will screen a library of 13,000 molecules that have been used in developing drugs for other diseases to determine whether any could be used as an antimicrobial to kill B. cepacia. If there are any positive hits, Calibr will explore whether the molecules could be developed into a potential B. cepacia treatment.
Despite the approval of treatments for the underlying cause of CF, many people with CF will continue to need treatments for disease manifestations, such as infections. The CF Foundation has committed at least $100 million from 2019-2023 to the Infection Research Initiative as part of a sweeping effort to address the chronic and intractable infections that are a hallmark of cystic fibrosis.
For more information on this announcement, please see the Calibr release.