Pharma-backed incubator INCATE selected the HZI start-up project Myxobiotics as one of the first start-ups to get support. Myxobiotics develops a new class of antibiotics against Acinetobacter baumannii, which causes severe, difficult-to-treat respiratory infections. Myxobiotics’ approach is based on a new class of natural compounds (cystobactamids) discovered and developed as antibacterial agents by Prof Rolf Müller and Prof Mark Brönstrup and their teams at the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS) and Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), together with Dr Thomas Hesterkamp and Evotec. The HIPS is a site of the HZI in collaboration with Saarland University.
First preclinical studies support cystobactamids as rapidly bactericidal, resistance-breaking drugs, which could become a powerful tool in fighting hospital-acquired and ventilator-associated pneumonia and bloodstream infections caused by resistant strains of Acinetobacter baumannii.
The selection of Myxobiotics by INCATE highlights its potential and provides the team with access to top-level advice and expertise from a community of distinguished scientists, industry representatives and investors. In addition, it receives non-dilutive funding of up to 10,000 EUR over the next 6 months and up to 250,000 EUR on progressing to the second phase of INCATE’s support program. INCATE was initiated last year as a pan-European private–public partnership to accelerate innovations that help combat the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance.
Ascenion, the HZI’s technology transfer partner, has been working with the scientists for years, building a comprehensive IP position around their work, and actively supporting translation as well as start-up preparation.