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Chelation Partners’ Anti-infective Polymer Improves Survival in Bacterial Sepsis

Chelation Partners’ Anti-infective Polymer Improves Survival in Bacterial Sepsis content piece image
Credit: Chelation Partners
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Chelation Partners, a preclinical company focused on medical indications related to iron availability including infectious disease, cancer and inflammatory disorders, announced on 1st October the publication of positive preclinical results in an experimental animal model of fatal bacterial sepsis.

The study investigated DIBI, a non-toxic, iron chelating polymer with the ability to inhibit growth of a wide variety of microorganisms, including those resistant to antibiotics, by starving them from the freely available iron they need to grow, which DIBI withdraws from the host. DIBI also has anti-inflammatory effects.

Publication highlights for Chelation’s Anti-infective polymer:

  • DIBI reduced leukocyte adhesion, improved capillary blood flow, and decreased key plasma cytokines levels, important markers of efficacy in sepsis.
  • In this model, DIBI improved survival of infected mice, and greatly improved survival when used in combination with the antibiotic, imipenem. 
  • 7-day survivors treated with only 2 doses of DIBI and imipenem were completely free of systemic infection. 

Previous studies of DIBI in other sepsis models have shown it preserved capillary perfusion, reduced plasma inflammatory markers and attenuated tissue damage. In response to the current pandemic, DIBI is also being developed as a potential daily IV therapy for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, to be administered early to suppress the progression of dysregulated inflammatory response (cytokine storm and ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) and secondary infections, pathologies seen in nearly all fatal COVID-19 cases.

An independent research group led by Christian Lehmann, MD, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, conducted the research. Dr. Lehmann concluded that "DIBI has promising potential for sepsis treatment including its use as a sole or an adjunct therapeutic with antibiotics". This is the 4th published report on the utility of DIBI for sepsis from this team.

"This new report shows yet again that the potential for DIBI in sepsis goes beyond its anti-infective properties especially given the striking similarities between COVID-19 viral and bacterial sepsis" said Bruce Holbein, one of the study co-authors and Chief Scientific Officer of Chelation Partners. The company is pursuing early entry into clinical development to investigate potential benefits in COVID-19 patients.

DIBI is part of a platform of iron binding polymers Chelation Partners is developing for a wide variety of infectious disease applications as well as anti-inflammatory and oncology indications. The highly soluble nature of these polymers makes a wide variety of formulations and delivery methods possible; DIBI has been delivered to the ear, nose, lung, skin, peritoneally, orally and intravenously in animal models. Veterinary indications are also under investigation and a real-world clinical study in dogs recently showed that DIBI alone was equivalent to the current standard of care, a combination of two antibiotics, in treating otitis externa.


DIBI is a non-toxic, iron-binding polymer with potent, broad-spectrum, antimicrobial activity against fungal and bacterial infections, including those caused by drug resistant organisms. DIBI exploits the absolute requirement of pathogens for iron in order to grow and reproduce. DIBI scavenges the iron required for infections, yet is non-toxic. It has single µM MICs (minimal inhibitory concentration) for pathogens. In multiple peer-reviewed studies using animal models of infection including of the ear, skin, lung and systemic, it was effective against bacterial and fungal species, with synergistic benefits when administered with conventional anti-infective agents. In animal models of sepsis, DIBI also down-regulated excess cytokine release and promoted survival, acting synergistically with antibiotics. DIBI is being considered for development as a treatment of COVID-19 patients with sepsis or secondary infections as DIBI can attenuate inflammatory sepsis and also suppress secondary infections in animal models.

About Chelation Partners

Chelation Partners is a Nova Scotia, Canada company focused on medical indications related to iron availability including infectious disease, cancer and others. Chelation's lead product candidate DIBI fits the ideal product profile for an anti-pathogen agent; DIBI is non-toxic, removes iron in manner pathogens cannot circumvent, inhibits pathogen growth, enhances vulnerability to other pathogen-specific agents, is very broad spectrum and very potent, with single µM MICs against even drug resistant pathogens like Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Acinetobacter baumannii. Iron sequestration has applications in other diseases and in published cancer research, DIBI inhibits cancer cell growth and acts as a strong sensitizer to conventional chemotherapy.

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