BioNTech acquires EIT Health Startup in the fight against bacterial infections

PhagoMed (now known as BioNTech after the buyout) is developing a novel synthetic lysine technology for precision antimicrobial treatments.

The Viennese biotech company uses lysines, enzymes produced by bacteriophages that break down bacterial cell walls and kill bacteria.

PhagoMed’s Lysine Builder platform enables the development of synthetic lysines that specifically generate antibacterial agents.

The Lysine Builder uses predictive algorithms to develop novel precision antibiotics that target and kill selected groups of bacteria. PhagoMed’s l program PM-477 is a synthetic lysine used to treat antibiotic-resistant bacterial vaginosis, which affects 100 million women worldwide.

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), antibiotic resistance (AMR) requires urgent action as it poses a global health threat. AMR is caused by deadly bacteria that, due to abuse and overuse, are resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics.

Without effective antibiotics, the success of modern medicine in treating infections, including major operations and cancer chemotherapy, would be jeopardized.

Because of drug resistance, some infections are much more difficult to treat or respond to treatment. The WHO has identified AMR as one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity.

According to Antibiotic Research UK, around 1,900 people die every day from infections that are resistant to antibiotics. That corresponds to 700,000 deaths worldwide. An estimated 12,000 people in the UK die from antibiotic resistance each year, which is similar to the death rate from breast cancer.

THE GREATER CONTEXT

Science and innovation are required to find new and alternative solutions to antibiotics that are becoming less effective. EIT Health’s Gold Track program supports companies like PhagoMed addressing pressing health challenges.

PhagoMed joined the EIT Gold Track program in June 2020 with a strong team and a promising idea and was supported over a period of 12 months. The program has resulted in companies raising over EUR 250 million and achieving four exits with a total volume of over EUR 1 billion.

ON THE RECORD

“PhagoMed’s ambition to develop novel antibiotics despite the many challenges in this area and the courage to think big caught our attention. We were impressed with the clear talent and ability of the team, as well as their openness to responding to advice from experts in order to refine their strategy, ”said Jan-Philipp Beck, CEO of EIT Health MobiHealthNews.

“EIT Health is focused on addressing some of the biggest health challenges we face through innovation, and AMR is important to governments, public health institutions and healthcare professionals alike. We will continue to support solutions that have the potential to accelerate us toward answers, ”he added.

“We are excited to partner with BioNTech to advance our synthetic lysine technology to address pressing health challenges,” said Alexander Belcredi and Lorenzo Corsini, Co-CEOs of PhagoMed.

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