Appili Therapeutics, an anti-infective drug development company, announced that it will be receiving $2,803,148 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), under the Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF). This funding will enable Appili to take its first drug, ATI-1501—a taste-masked, oral antibiotic that treats anaerobic infections like Clostridium difficile—through clinical trials to be ready for market approval.
"Having ACOA recognize the potential of our antibiotic reformulation to become a new weapon against anaerobic infections is outstanding,” said Kevin Sullivan, CEO of Appili Therapeutics. “This AIF funding supports our strategy to advance ATI-1501 into human clinical trials as soon as possible.”
Appili plans to take the antibiotic into clinical trials this year and is presently manufacturing the clinical batch of ATI-1501 to good manufacturing practices (GMP), the standard required by the Health Canada and the FDA.
ATI-1501 is a reformulation of metronidazole, a front-line treatment for anaerobic bacterial infections, including C. difficile. Over 10 million metronidazole prescriptions are issued in the U.S. annually.
The bitter taste of the metronidazole tablets results in poor patient compliance, which leads to the spread of infections and recurrent infections within the patients. In particular, reluctance to complete the prescribed course of antibiotics is highly problematic among children and the elderly with swallowing issues, who must crush and re-suspend tablets to ingest the metronidazole.
ATI-1501 has been optimized to improve palatability, which should significantly reduce issues with non-compliance. Once ingested, ATI-1501 kills anaerobic bacteria by interfering with their DNA, leading to bacterial cell death and clears up the infection.