Arsanis Biosciences GmbH achieved a major milestone by nominating the preclinical development candidates for its lead program, a monoclonal antibody cocktail to prevent and treat severe hospital associated S. aureus infections.
Arsanis also announced the award of a major grant for the development of new therapeutics against severe pneumococcal infections. The grant is awarded by the FFG (Forschungs-Förderungs-Gesellschaft or “FFG”), the leading public funding agency for translational research in Austria. The initial support from the FFG amounts to EUR 1.4 million; additional funding of up to a EUR 9 million is anticipated in the following three years.
This award marks the third consecutive year that Arsanis has secured significant non-dilutive funding from public agencies, having received grants from the FFG in 2011 and 2012 to support antibody discovery and development against nosocomial pathogens. Arsanis has to date received EUR 3.8 million from these grants, and expects to receive another EUR 10 million over the next four years.
“Arsanis is building a broad pipeline and currently developing four anti-infective products against bacterial infectious diseases associated with high unmet medical need,” commented Eszter Nagy, MD, PhD, Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Arsanis. “The strategy to fight these different pathogens is custom-tailored and based on the pathogenesis of the particular infections that is often linked to host susceptibility. In our lead program, our strategy is to counteract several powerful virulence mechanisms of Staphylococcus aureus and defeat this highly sophisticated pathogen with only a few antibodies that provide several modes of action for protection.”
“The partnership with our antibody discovery partner, Adimab LLC (Lebanon, NH, USA) has enabled us to generate very special antibody therapeutics to achieve this goal,” Dr. Nagy added. “With the support from the FFG, we have been able to support a broad discovery program including target validation and selection of the most efficient antibodies in a short period of time. The new grant awarded for our pneumococcus program will similarly support a comprehensive discovery effort and aid fast track pre-clinical product development.”
“The FFG support has become instrumental in taking a broad strategic approach to the infectious diseases problem. Where others had to scale back Arsanis has been able to initiate multiple discovery programs across different diseases with a high unmet medical need,” said Tillman Gerngross, Ph.D. Co-Founder and Chairman of Arsanis, Inc. “Over the past two years Eszter and her team have built an impressive portfolio of programs in the infectious disease space and the most recent grant support further validates our approach.”
“Vienna has proven to be an excellent place to build a world-class biotech company,” said Errik Anderson, Arsanis Co-Founder and Director. “Access to excellent scientific and regulatory talent, good infrastructure, a reasonable tax environment and streamlined government support for innovative biotech companies all have supported Eszter’s success in building Arsanis into an infectious disease franchise.”
“These grants reinforce Vienna as an attractive venue for international biotech investors,” said Carl Gordon, Partner and Co-Head of Global Life Sciences at OrbiMed Advisors. Arsanis received funding in 2010 by a syndicate of three US-based venture capitalists; OrbiMed Advisors (New York, NY), Polaris Venture Partners (Waltham, MA), and SV Life Sciences (Boston, MA).