Rapid development of novel antiviral treatments to reduce the impact of the current coronavirus pandemic
In this project we develop a new class of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) entitled Synthetic Antimicrobial Antibiofilm Peptides (SAAPs), which are best in class compounds and have shown to be highly effective against bacterial infections in cell culture and animal models. In addition we investigate the potential of the SAAP family (a set of 1026 peptides) as treatment for SARS-CoV-2 infections
Remko van Leeuwen
Remko van Leeuwen (CEO) is a medical doctor by training and has more than 30 years of academic and industrial research experience in infectious diseases and as a team leader he has successfully conducted numerous clinical and pre-clinical drug development programs
Estimated project cost
EUR 2.5 million
Research, Development & Innovation
Industry for SMEs & Mid-Caps
Expected Jobs created
Economic rationale / Business Model
Respiratory virus infections like SARS—CoV-2 can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome and secondary bacterial infections. In severe cases, it can lead to life-threatening pathological changes such as multiple organ failure, sepsis, and diffuse intravascular coagulation. These complications have been one of the major reasons for the death of patients infected with novel coronavirus. Proper treatment of such complications as acute lung injuries thus makes a major difference to the survivability of the disease. Some analysts, such as Geoff Meacham of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, predict that total CoViD-19-related sales for an antiwould reach a one-time figure of $2.5 billion. This sales forecast could be significantly higher when SAAPs prove effective against more corona virus variants (e.g. could be protective in future outbreaks).
Obviously, pulmonary infections are a key component of CoViD-19 morbidity but can also be seen as a stand-alone market opportunity. WHO figures show that lower respiratory infections are the most deadly communicable disease, causing 3.0 million deaths worldwide in 2016. Madam Therapeutics aims to license the peptide to a larger pharma player after establishing proof of concept.
Project financing secured: EUR 0.25 million (10 %)
Self participation: EUR 0.25 million (10 %)
Financing source: Private
Madam Therapeutics has raised 1,1M in private equity in Sept 2018, via Angel investors
The promoter has received / applied for EU / EIB financing support related to this project.
Existing or potential bottlenecks for the realisation of the project / Potential risks
This is a drug development program. These by nature always carry a high risk. Nonetheless we need to remain all focused on finding a treatment against the coronavirus, while there’s another, major threat still lurking: superbugs. The pandemic is a stark reminder of the need to be prepared for public health crises, particularly the growing danger of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which clearly outweighs the risks involved.
Project additional information
BioWorld Today, a leading news source for the biotech industry from Thomson Reuters, has recently described AMPs such as our SAAPs as the most exciting developments in the anti-microbial development . In a commentary in Science Translational Medicine , several unique characterises of our SAAP family are highlighted. The commentary mentioned that our SAAPs represent “the first published demonstration of the killing of persisters bacteria”.
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A free translation into English has been provided by the European Commission on this project, for information purposes only. The original language version is the authentic version.