BiomX acquires fellow bacteria-killing virus company Adaptive Phage to accelerate phase 2 plans

Israeli company BiomX is acquiring U.S.-based Adaptive Phage Therapeutics to create a biotech focused on pushing two engineered bacteria-killing viruses through the clinic.

Following the all-stock transaction, around 55% of the resulting company—which will continue to be called BiomX—will owned by BiomX’s current shareholders with the remaining 45% owned by APT’s shareholders, according to a March 6 release.

To coincide with the announcement, BiomX will sell $50 million-worth of the new entity’s stock, which will be used to fund phase 2 readouts for the company’s two lead programs. One of these is BX004, a so-called “phage cocktail” that BiomX has been lining up for a phase 2b trial to treat chronic pulmonary infections caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients.

The drug picked up an FDA orphan drug tag at the start of this year, and results from the phase 2b study are expected in the third quarter of 2025. A phase 2a trial showed that BX004 induced a “clinically meaningful” improvement in pulmonary function, BiomX reported in November 2023.

The other main contender at the merged company is APT’s bacteriophage therapy—to be renamed BX211—for the treatment of Staphylococcus aureus infections in diabetic foot osteomyelitis (DFO). That mid-stage study is due to read out in the first quarter of next year.

“Today’s announcement sends a clear vote of confidence from leading biotechnology investors who led this transaction that phage technology holds significant potential to treat serious infections with significant unmet need and limited treatment options,” BiomX CEO Jonathan Solomon said in the release. “In the case of CF, BX004 has the potential to improve lung function in patients with chronic and potentially deadly pulmonary infections.”

The post-merger version of BiomX will continue to be led by Solomon and his management team, with the addition of APT’s Vice President, Project Execution Michael Billard, who will come on board as General Manager, U.S.

“APT’s phage therapy for DFO holds the potential to prevent amputations associated with intractable infections that have penetrated into the bone in patients with diabetic foot ulcers,” Greg Merril, founder and board director of APT, said in the release. “With the combined intellectual and financial resources coming from this acquisition, we now have a clear line of sight towards applying this ground-breaking technology to reach multiple data readouts in CF and DFO over the next 12-24 months.”

More than 1.2 million people worldwide die each year from infections caused by bacterial resistance, with the annual death toll set to rise to 10 million by 2050 unless new options are developed, according to a 2022 report from BIO. While the likes of GSK are continuing to invest in antibiotics, most Big Pharmas have vacated the space, leaving non-profits like the Antimicrobial Resistance Fund as well as national governments to turn to smaller biotechs to persevere. For example, APT—a Fierce 15 company of 2023—received $5 million from the U.S. Defense Health Agency in 2022 to fund its DFO trial.