Soligenix, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing products to treat serious inflammatory diseases where there remains an unmet medical need, as well as developing several biodefense vaccines and therapeutics, has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), to support further preclinical development of SGX943 as a treatment for melioidosis. The award will provide Soligenix with approximately $300,000 over one year to conduct the studies in collaboration with Tulane University.
Melioidosis is caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei (Bps). Current treatment for melioidosis requires long and intensive antibiotic administration and extensive supportive care. In endemic regions, mortality from melioidosis can be as high as 40%. In addition to causing a high rate of endemic disease in Southeast Asian and Northern Australia, Bps also is considered a top five priority in the most recent Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasure Enterprise (PHEMCE) Strategy document.
SGX943 has been comprehensively evaluated in bacterial infection models and has shown preclinical efficacy with Gram-positive methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) as well as with other Gram-negative pathogens. As an innate defense regulator, SGX943 does not have direct antibacterial activity, but rather stimulates the innate immune system to combat infection while simultaneously suppressing inflammation. Thus, SGX943 has the potential to be a novel adjunctive treatment paradigm for antibiotic resistant infections, including melioidosis.
This new grant will support further evaluation of SGX943 in the treatment of melioidosis in preclinical studies. These results will represent a significant step forward in the development of SGX943 as a medical countermeasure for melioidosis.
"Melioidosis remains a significant biothreat as well as a major life-threatening endemic disease in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia," said Christopher J. Schaber, Ph.D., president and CEO of Soligenix. "We are encouraged with the promising preclinical survival results observed to date with SGX943. With this support from NIAID, we look forward to continuing development of SGX943 in melioidosis."