Antimicrobial resistance – This is not the time to wait. This is the time to act.
AiCuris Anti-infective Cures GmbH, a leading company in the field of anti-infectives, always focusing on indications with a high medical need, introduced an additional strategic program called PREP - Pandemic and Resistance Emergency Preparedness. Convinced that together with viral pandemics antimicrobial resistance is another huge threat – currently still hidden behind the current SARS-CoV-2 outbreak - with expected millions of people dying in the coming decades, AiCuris adds to its strategic focus the area of pandemic and resistance preparedness. “The need to be prepared for future crises is what the current COVID-19 pandemic has taught us,” stated Holger Zimmermann, CEO of AiCuris. As a proven expert in anti-infective drug development and with strong experience in bringing products through clinical development and to the market, AiCuris takes up the fight against the next global pandemic and AMR.
It is important to understand that without effective antimicrobials for the prevention and treatment of infections, medical procedures such as organ transplantation, cancer chemotherapy, diabetes management and even minor elective surgeries become high-risk. The occurrence of “superbugs” resistant to antimicrobial drugs is gaining pace, as pathogenic bacteria are regularly exposed to the same antimicrobial drugs given the excessive use of antibiotics in human health but also in livestock and their uncontrolled release into the environment. Less than 12 months ago, the world had no idea about SARS-CoV-2, let alone the humanitarian and economic suffering it would cause. Signs that AMR could result similar devastation are already visible: Although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) see in their “Antibiotic Resistance Threats 2019” report a decline in deaths related to antimicrobial resistance, in April 2019 the WHO and UN Ad hoc Interagency Coordinating Group on Antimicrobial Resistance stated that 10 million AMR-related deaths are projected between 2015 and 2050 if current infection and resistance trends are not reversed.
Employing a multifaceted approach, AiCuris is committed to preparing for the next global emergency by investing time, expertise and financial resources in a four-pillar approach to prevent the next global pandemic and tackle AMR.
Pillar 1: Explore opportunities of AiCuris pipeline products to treat Corona; AIC649 with the potential to become first-line pandemic therapy
It takes years to develop new, innovative drugs to fight a viral infection. A faster option in the event of success is evaluating proprietary existing substances to identify a possible active agent against Corona. AIC649, currently in clinical development as a cure for chronic hepatitis B, is a proprietary inactivated parapoxvirus particle preparation that induces a natural, self-limiting immune response, enhancing appropriate immune responses against unrelated viruses. As a novel biological immunomodulator, AIC649 has the potential to be effective against Corona and a broad range of other potentially pandemic viruses and therewith to become a first-line therapeutic option to prevent the emergence of a new pandemic. AiCuris plans to initiate a clinical pilot trial applying AIC649 in asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 patients for the prevention of COVID-19.
Pillar 2: Drive development in resistant breaking antibiotics based on novel approaches
AiCuris is one of the few European companies that remains highly committed and focused on the development of new antibacterial agents to overcome resistance. The company has extensive expertise in developing novel, effective therapies against infectious diseases and is in a strong position to attack antibiotic resistance in new ways. In July 2019, AiCuris signed a long-term cooperation agreement for the development and optimization of Artilysin®-based drug candidates for various anti-bacterial indications including e.g. hospital-acquired pneumonia and sepsis with Lysando AG (Triesenberg, Liechtenstein) and is working in several research collaborations with cutting-edge institutions to identify novel resistance breaking compound classes and new therapeutic approaches.
Pillar 3: Launch of AiCubator – a new way to collaborate in anti-infectives
In some cases, it is not the lack of a ground-breaking idea that prevents the development of a novel anti-infective drug, but the lack of funding, development and business experience, plus limited resources that discourage start-ups and scientific groups to convert their exciting ideas into reality. While most of the existing funds and incubators focus on later stage projects, AiCuris believes in encouraging the development of early projects based on new scientific principles to fill pipeline gaps, tackle AMR and prevent future pandemics. The newly launched AiCubator program is set up to provide scientific and business support to academic groups or recently formed biotech start-ups throughout Europe for their anti-infective research projects. To apply for the AiCubator program and to receive expert evaluation of your project from one of the leaders in anti-infectives drug development visit www.aicuris.com/AiCubator.
Pillar 4: Pursue an active licensing strategy for late pre-clinical and early clinical projects
AiCuris is constantly evaluating strategic partnerships and collaboration opportunities with biotech or pharmaceutical companies in pre-clinical and early clinical projects with a focus on infectious diseases and hospital acquired infections. In addition, the company is always interested in new collaborations with innovative, science-driven organizations and academic institutions.
Understanding AMR and meeting the experts
AiCuris will participate the digitally delivered 4th AMR Conference 2020 from August 24.-28., 2020. During this conference, AiCuris experts will join several panels to discuss new ways to accelerate and finance early stage antimicrobial research and drug development.
 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Antibiotic Resistance Threats 2019
 UN Ad hoc Interagency Coordinating Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, No Time to Wait: Securing the future from drug-resistant infections, April 2019