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Centauri Therapeutics receives Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst Award

06:15 EDT 11 Sep 2017 | Zyme Communications

  • Funding will be used to develop the Company’s Alphamer technology to target antibacterial resistance
  • The UK’s innovation agency will contribute up to £945K towards the project

London and Kent, UK, 11 September 2017: Centauri Therapeutics Ltd (Centauri), a biotechnology company focused on the treatment of infectious diseases and cancer, announced today that it has been awarded up to £945,000 under Innovate UK’s Biomedical Catalyst (BMC) programme. Alongside backing from the Company’s investors, this award from the UK’s innovation agency will co-fund research focused on antimicrobial resistance. The project aims to generate a clinical candidate drug against Gram-negative bacteria, which are a major cause of mortality in hospital-acquired pneumonias, using the Company’s Alphamer™ technology.

Bacteria are continually evolving to resist new antibiotics, meaning new medicines are required to target novel drug-resistant strains and deliver effective therapies to patients. Centauri plans to develop an innovative treatment for patients suffering from infections caused by these resistant bacteria. Using the Company’s Alphamer drug mechanism, chemically synthesised molecules will redirect pre-existing antibodies to pathogens in a specific manner that elicits an immune response. This immune response will mediate destruction of the bacteria to clear the infection, while working in conjunction with existing antibiotics to reduce the dose and duration of therapy. Unlike traditional vaccines, this approach aims to treat infected patients and has the potential to elicit a broader immune response than monoclonal antibodies alone.

Dr Mike Westby, Director and CEO of Centauri Therapeutics, commenting on the award said: “The lack of new antibiotics combined with increasing incidence of bacterial resistance in the clinic has been termed ‘the perfect storm’ and there is an urgent need for innovative methods and efficacious therapies. The BMC Award is a significant recognition of Centauri’s scientific expertise and demonstrates the UK government’s confidence in our team’s ability to combat antibacterial resistance and deliver novel treatments for patients.”

Total costs for the project titled ‘Optimisation of antibody recruiting molecules as immunotherapeutics’ are estimated at £1.35M. The co-funding from Innovate UK will cover up to 70% of this, with Centauri’s investors supporting the remaining 30% of the project costs over a two-year period.

About Centauri Therapeutics Ltd www.centauritherapeutics.com

Centauri Therapeutics is a UK-based biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of novel molecules targeting life threatening diseases.  Centauri is pursuing anti-bacterial opportunities on its own and immune-oncology opportunities through its joint venture with Horizon Discovery plc, Avvinity Therapeutics (Avvinity.com).

Centauri Therapeutics’ Executive team is led by Mike Westby, Chief Executive Officer (previously Pfizer, Roche) and Stuart Lawson, Chief Financial Officer (CEO of the private investment group Animatrix Capital LLP, and previously KPMG). Clive Dix is Non-Executive Director and Chairman of the Board (CEO of C4X Discovery and previously Convergence Pharmaceuticals, PowderMed, PowderJect, Glaxo Wellcome). Jonathan Synett is Managing Director of NCL Ventures, a specialist investment management firm focussing on high growth technology companies.

The company is backed by private investors and a strategic investment from a regional investment fund (Discovery Park Technology Investment Fund).

Centauri Therapeutics is based at Discovery Park, Kent.

About Alphamer™ Technology

The Alphamer™ technology is based on "programmable immunity" in which chemically synthesised molecules redirect naturally occurring antibodies to selected pathogens to fight the infection. The molecules have two distinct parts: one end binds a cell-surface target on the pathogen using an aptamer whereas the other end presents specific epitopes that attach to the circulating antibodies. It has been demonstrated that Alphamers have the potential to redirect pre-existing antibodies to bacteria in a specific manner and trigger an immediate antibacterial immune response, so clearing the infection.

About Innovate UK and the Biomedical Catalyst

Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. It works with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy. For further information visit www.innovateuk.gov.uk

The Biomedical Catalyst (BMC) is a unique partnership between the MRC and Innovate UK, providing responsive and effective support to the most innovative life sciences opportunities regardless of scientific approach. The BMC aims to de-risk innovative science and commercialise ideas arising out of academia and industry helping UK SMEs to develop into competitive and sustainable organisations.  This accelerates the progress of novel products to market, facilitates onward investment and bridges “the valley of death”.

Media enquiries Lorna Cuddon Zyme Communications lorna.cuddon@zymecommunications.com +44 (0)7811 996 942 NEXT ARTICLE

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