Akthelia Pharmaceuticals and the University of Iceland secure a €6M EU Horizon Grant to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
Collaborative IN-ARMOR Project Aims to Advance Novel Innate Immune System Inducers for a Healthier Future
REYKJAVIK, ICELAND – April 17, 2023 – Akthelia Pharmaceuticals, a biopharma company, with a first-in-class immunotherapeutic approach, and the University of Iceland, are proud to announce the successful joint award of a €6 million EU Horizon Grant to fund the groundbreaking IN-ARMOR project. The project seeks to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR), a major global health threat identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the top 10 health challenges of our time.
AMR and multi-drug resistance contribute to over 5 million deaths per year, with the potential to give rise to the next global pandemic as 'pan-drug' resistant strains emerge. As traditional antibiotics lose effectiveness, alternative therapeutic approaches are urgently needed.
"We are thrilled that our cutting-edge technology, developed in collaboration with the University of Iceland, has received this prestigious grant," said Egill Masson, CEO of Akthelia Pharma, "The IN-ARMOR project focuses on novel immune system inducers and is a testament to the potential of our approach to address the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance. The funding propels our ground-breaking research to address not only infections caused by bacteria but also inflammation and the challenge of viral and fungal infections, where fewer treatment options exist."
"I am delighted to collaborate with Akthelia Pharmaceuticals on this critical initiative," commented Professor Gudmundur Gudmundsson, Professor of Cell Biology at the University of Iceland and leading authority on innate immunology, "By focusing on enhancing innate immunology, we have the opportunity to move beyond traditional antibiotics towards next generation therapies that could revolutionize the way we combat antimicrobial resistance, ultimately protecting countless lives worldwide."
The IN-ARMOR project brings together nine universities, research institutes, and seven medical and industry partners across nine EU countries. The project's goal is to introduce a novel class of immune system inducers to enhance the body's innate microbial defense mechanisms, combating AMR and reducing the incidence of 13 of the most dangerous infections, including two of the top three priority-1 infections. Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding program for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion.
Employing computer-aided drug design and in-silico approaches, alongside a nanotech-based drug delivery system, IN-ARMOR will optimize an existing drug platform for its first target indication. The therapy will undergo pre-clinical validation for safety and efficacy, meeting all investigational medicinal product requirements.
Upon completion, IN-ARMOR will advance to clinical validation, with the potential to save over 4 million lives worldwide and significantly reduce the burden of antibiotic development, leading to long-term cost reduction impact of €107BN and reduction in global disease burden of 97 million DALYs.
Akthelia Pharmaceuticals is committed to addressing the global threat of antimicrobial resistance and believes that the IN-ARMOR project is a vital step towards a healthier future.
ABOUT AKTHELIA PHARMACEUTICALS
Akthelia Pharmaceuticals is a preclinical-stage biopharma company with a next-generation immunotherapeutic strategy to upregulate the innate immunology of epithelial surfaces. This novel approach has application potential to many areas of medicine and addresses the growing threat of antibiotic bacterial resistance (AMR) worldwide.
Akthelia’s lead therapeutic program upregulates the innate immunology in the GI tract, blocking leakage of microbiota to improve outcomes in cancer care through reducing the risk of neutropenia, a common and severe complication in chemotherapy and immunocompromised patients.