Penicillin Binding Protein (PBP) Inhibitor Program

Venatorx Pharmaceuticals is developing a novel class of non-beta-lactam molecules that kill bacteria by the same selective mechanism as beta-lactams — blocking cell wall synthesis via binding to the bacterial penicillin binding proteins (PBPs). Chemically distinct from the beta-lactams, these new molecules have been designed to be impervious to degradation by any beta-lactamases. By circumventing over seventy years of beta-lactamase-driven resistance, this new class of PBP inhibitors has the potential to usher in a new wave of antibacterial therapeutics.

Oral Antibiotics to treat multi-drug-resistant (MDR) gonorrhea

Venatorx is developing an oral penicillin-binding protein inhibitor (PBPi) to address the growing problem of resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae to the last resort antibiotic for outpatient use, ceftriaxone. Venatorx has identified non-beta-lactam transpeptidase inhibitors that are rapidly bactericidal, impervious to beta-lactamases, and show promising selective activity against gonococci, including both wild-type strains and isolates with PBP variants that confer ceftriaxone resistance.

In 2019, CARB-X awarded Venatorx up to US$4.1 million in non-dilutive funding, with the possibility of up to an additional US$8.9 million if certain project milestones are met. CARB-X funding will help Venatorx progress these early molecules from hit-to-lead through IND-enabling studies.

This project (04CARB-X 0652) is supported by the Cooperative Agreement Number IDSEP160030 from ASPR/BARDA and by awards from Wellcome Trust, and Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Countermeasure against Potential Drug-Resistant Biodefense Category A/B Respiratory Pathogens

In 2017, Venatorx was awarded up to $16 million from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense. The funding supports discovery and preclinical development of a novel, first-in-class antibiotic for biodefense applications.

The project is supported by DTRA under Contract No. HDTRA117C0070.

Intravenous Antibiotic to Combat Multi-Drug Resistant Bacteria

In 2017, Venatorx was awarded up to $9.4 million from CARB-X to be used to support discovery and pre-clinical development of a new class of antibiotic that circumvents beta-lactam antibiotic resistance, but with the same safe and effective mechanism of action of beta-lactams.

This project (01CARB-X0109) was supported by the Cooperative Agreement Number IDSEP160030 from ASPR/BARDA and by awards from Wellcome Trust, and Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research.