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Nosopharm renews its partnership with INRA

Nosopharm, an innovative company dedicated to research and development on new anti-infectious agents, has today announced the renewal of its partnership with INRA. This partnership with INRA’s Joint Research Unit for Diversity, Genomes and Microbe/Insect Interactions (UMR-DGIMI) aims to develop new classes of antimicrobial agents to treat drug-resistant nosocomial infections. The new classes thus discovered will then be the subject of patent applications and scientific publications.

Updated on 07/18/2018
Published on 05/30/2018

According to the initial terms of the partnership, INRA offered Nosopharm exclusive access to around 100 unique strains of Photorhabdus and Xenorhabdus. The strain collection held by UMR-DGIMI is the largest and most varied in the world for these two bacterial genera.  Nosopharm will therefore benefit from the experience accumulated during the first screening campaign to apply its innovative and proprietary methods to new strains, in the hope of discovering more bioactive compounds.

The objective of the second campaign will be to discover an innovative, systemic antimicrobial agent that targets Gram-negative pathogens, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, as well as an innovative systemic antifungal agent targeting pathogenic Candida spp.

Nosopharm’s screening of the unique collection of strains from the Photorhabdus and Xenorhabdus bacterial genera belonging to INRA’s UMR-DGIMI enabled:

  • the filing of three patents covering three new classes of antimicrobial agents (EP2468718, WO2012085177, WO2016046409),
  • the publication of three articles in peer-reviewed journals (Mol. Cell, 2018, Genome Announc., 2014, J. Antibiot, 2013),
  • an oral presentation during the 54th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC),
  • the discovery of Odilorhabdins, a new class of antibiotics currently at the preclinical stage, for the treatment of multi-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. This new class was selected to join the European ND4BB ENABLE consortium.

"We are delighted to collaborate further with INRA to discover new classes of antimicrobial agents. The exclusivity we have been granted gives as a major competitive advantage”, declared Philippe Villain-Guillot, CEO and founder of Nosopharm. "With this second screening campaign, we are targeting the discovery of a new antibacterial molecule against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, as well as a new antifungal agent. In the longer term, the antimicrobial agents discovered in the context of this collaboration could be developed jointly with biotechs or pharmaceutical firms.”

"Bacteria belonging to the Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus genera are both insect pathogens and nematode symbiotes, but today they have also been recognised for their important ability to produce numerous bioactive molecules with antimicrobial activity (both antibacterial and antifungal). Since the 1980s, our research unit (INRA UMR-DGIM 1333) has been maintaining a collection of these bacteria which now contains 650 strains, originating from throughout the world. In 2016, this collection was associated with the "environment" pillar of the Center for Agricultural Resources Research”, explains Alain Givaudan, deputy director of INRA’s UMR-DGIMI. “With Nosopharm, we are focusing on the search for small molecules of natural origin. Their biosynthesis achieved in bacteria thanks to large enzymatic complexes (called “non-ribosomal peptide synthetase” or NRPS) which constitute biological microbial cell factories coded by genes of unusual length and strongly represented in the genomes of  Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus.”

Each year in Europe, hospital pathogens that are multi-resistant to antibiotics cause at least 380,000 infections and 25,000 direct deaths. Annual treatment and social costs are estimated at €1.5 billion. At a global level, antibiotic resistance may kill 10 million people each year between now and 2050, for a total cost of €94 trillion. In February 2017, the WHO published a list of pathogenic bacteria that are a priority for the development of new antibiotics. The Pseudomonas aeruginosa pathogen heads this list and is deemed a critical priority. P. aeruginosa is implicated in around 10% of all nosocomial infections in the European Union and United States, with a high incidence in cases of pneumonia. In 2016, combined resistance rates (resistance to three or more classes of antibiotics including piperacillin ± tazobactam, ceftazidime, fluoroquinolones, aminoglycosides and carbapenems) in P. aeruginosa reached 10% in Europe. The rate of resistance to carbapenems, the last resort antibiotics, was 15%. The principal pathogenic fungi found in hospitals belong to Candida species and are implicated in around 6% of nosocomial infections in the European Union and United States. Very few classes of antifungal agents are available to treat these infections: azoles, echinocandins, polyenes and flucytosine. This is a particular concern because multi-resistant Candida species are rapidly emerging, such as Candida glabrata and Candida auris.

Press Relations:
Sandra Régnavaque / Andrew Lloyd & Associates (33 1 56 54 07 00 ), INRA News Office (33 1 42 75 91 86)

About Nosopharm

Nosopharm is a biotechnology company specialised in the research and development of new anti-infectious molecules. The company has discovered and developed NOSO-502, a new generation antibiotic for the treatment of multi-resistant hospital pathogens.  Nosopharm has developed unique expertise in discovering natural bioactive products from the Xenorhadbus and Photorhabdus genera, and in medical chemistry with Odilorhabdins, the new class of antibiotics to which NOSO-502 belongs.

Founded in 2009, Nosopharm is based in Lyon (France) and employs a team of eight people. To date, the company has raised €4.3 million in private capital and received public sector grants worth €3.8 million from Bpifrance, IMI, DGA, the Languedoc-Roussillon Regional Council and FEDER.