Savara Pharmaceuticals has received a $1.7 million research award from Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics(CFFT), the nonprofit drug discovery and development affiliate of the CF Foundation. The award will advance the development of AeroVanc, the first inhaled antibiotic being developed to treat the increasing number of people with cystic fibrosis (CF) who have persistent methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) lung infection.
"The support of the CF Foundation is yet another acknowledgment that AeroVanc addresses an unmet need for people with CF suffering from MRSA infection," said Rob Neville, CEO of Savara Pharmaceuticals. "The $6 million in support that Savara has received from the CF Foundation and the NIH provides critical funding to advance the AeroVanc program.”
Savara is now enrolling patients for its phase II trial of AeroVanc. It is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in 80 CF patients with persistent MRSA lung infection, and is being conducted at 26 CF centers nationwide. The primary objective of the study is to evaluate the efficacy of AeroVanc in reducing the quantity of MRSA colony forming units in sputum cultures. The secondary objectives include evaluation of the safety of repeat dosing with AeroVanc and the efficacy of AeroVanc in improving lung function, reducing respiratory symptoms, and prolonging the time to pulmonary exacerbations and the need for other antibiotics.
"Savara's AeroVanc is a much needed investigational product, as none of the current inhaled antibiotics address the growing problem of MRSA infection," said Dr. Bonnie W. Ramsey, director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research at Seattle Children's Research Institute, and one of the lead investigators of TOBI, an inhaled form of tobramycin used to treat chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in CF. "TOBI has become the cornerstone of treatment in CF, and AeroVanc has the potential to become analogous to TOBI for MRSA."