Resistance to antibiotics is becoming an increasing problem worldwide. In the US, every 11 seconds someone gets a bacterial or fungal infection that is resistant to antibiotics and every 15 minutes someone dies from it, reports the CDC. In Europe, 33,000 people die each year from an untreatable infection. A urinary tract infection with a resistant bacterium can sometimes already be fatal.
Thus, there is a great need for new antibiotics. Madam Therapeutics, based in Woerdense Verlaat, is specialized in the development of a new generation of antibiotics, the so-called SAAPs. SAAPs stands for Synthetic Antimicrobila and Antibiofilm Peptides. Remko van Leeuwen, CEO of the company: “We develop peptides, small molecules, which work very differently from the current antibiotics. Most antibiotics work rather slowly, but our SAAPs puncture a hole in the bacteria from the outside, causing it to drain and die. Compare it to an inflated balloon that is punctured. We have a whole arsenal of peptides that work this way. Because it’s so fast, bacteria have little or no chance of developing resistance to this new generation of antibiotics”.
The problem that Madam Therapeutics and other producers of these new antibiotics are facing is the method of administration. Peptides are small molecules that break down quickly when they enter the body. They don’t survive a stay in the stomach anyway. That’s why such antibiotics almost always have to be injected, which severely limits their use. This is where the expertise of PharmaCytics, located at Novio Tech Campus in Nijmegen and Pivot Park in Oss, comes into play. The company has developed the Nutrient Drug Conjugate technology (NDCt), with which they can disguise all kinds of medicines as food. They are now going to do the same with peptides with an antimicrobial effect.
Han van ‘t Klooster, CEO of PharmaCytics: “Our technique links a food group to the peptides, so the digestive tract thinks it has to do with nutrients. Because of this disguise, they are excellently absorbed by the intestines in the bloodstream. The higher uptake – bioavailability – may even allow a lower dosage. Once in the bloodstream, the coupling is broken and the peptides can exert their antibacterial effect. In short, with our technique we go from prick to pill”.
Investment for the patient
The need for new, powerful antibiotics in pill form with less chance of resistance is great. Both PharmaCytics and Madam Therapeutics emphasize the importance of this for the patient. Such drugs can greatly contribute to reducing the number of deaths and the enormous health damage caused by antibiotic resistance. Pharmatide Invest initiated this collaboration in these two innovative Dutch pharmaceutical companies.