PolyMedix Receives NIH Grant to Develop New Antimicrobials for the Treatment of Malaria

Up to $4 Million available over five years

RADNOR, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- PolyMedix, Inc. (OTC BB: PYMX), an emerging biotechnology company focused on developing new therapeutic drugs to treat acute cardiovascular disorders and infectious diseases, has received a grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to support the development of defensin-mimetic antimicrobial compounds for the treatment of malaria. Malaria is a devastating global disease with up to 3 billion people exposed, and causes more than one million deaths each year as resistance to current therapies increases. PolyMedix’s defensin-mimetic antimicrobial compounds offer a potentially new approach for treating malaria, with a mechanism of action to which resistance is unlikely to develop.

The initial phase of this grant provides PolyMedix with $0.5 million over the first year, with the opportunity for an additional $0.5 million in the second year, to validate and pursue defensin-mimetic antimicrobial compounds for therapeutic development. The goal of the first phase of research is to generate proof-of-concept through in vitro and in vivo efficacy testing. Subject to satisfactory performance of the initial phase and availability of funds, the grant provides for funding of up to $1 million per year for each of an additional three years, which brings the potential value of the grant up to an aggregate of $4 million over the five year period. This award represents the 13th grant or research contract received to date by PolyMedix.

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is transmitted to people by infected mosquitoes. As much as half of the world’s population, up to 3 billion people may be exposed to malaria. In the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver, and then infect red blood cells. According to the World Health Organization, the inappropriate use of antimalarial drugs during the past century, including poor management of use, deployment of drugs on a large scale and use as monotherapies, has contributed to the current situation of unacceptably high levels of resistance. This growing resistance to antimalarial medicines has spread very rapidly, undermining malaria control efforts.

“Current therapies for malaria are plagued by increasingly rapid drug resistance, which has become endemic in certain regions of the world,” commented Richard Scott, Vice President of Research at PolyMedix. “Our defensin-mimetic antimicrobial compounds mimic human host-defense proteins and have a mechanism of action distinct from those of current anti-malarial drugs, a mechanism which is intended to make bacterial resistance unlikely to develop. In preclinical studies, two of our compounds, PMX-70008 and PMX-30024, have demonstrated encouraging in vitro specificity for Plasmodium, the most deadly malaria parasite. With this funding from the NIH we are able to continue our research in developing a compound to potentially address this major unmet medical need.”

As presented at the American Society of Microbiology ICAAC conference in 2008 by Dr. Doron Greenbaum of the University of Pennsylvania, pre-clinical studies with PolyMedix’s defensin mimetic antibiotics showed encouraging activity for the potential treatment of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, the infectious agent for the most prevalent and deadly forms of malaria. P. falciparum accounts for 80% of all human malarial infections and 90% of deaths from such infections. More than 120 million new clinical cases of malaria and between 1 to 1.5 million deaths occur worldwide every year.

PolyMedix’s small molecule defensin-mimetic antimicrobial compounds are designed to mimic human host defense proteins, one of the oldest and most effective antimicrobial defense systems found in virtually all living creatures. Host defense proteins use a simple, but effective method for killing bacteria by targeting bacterial membranes and disrupting them. This mechanism of action makes it difficult for bacteria to develop resistance.

PolyMedix’s lead small molecule defensin mimetic antibiotic compound, PMX-30063, has completed two Phase 1 clinical trials. Results from the studies demonstrated that PMX-30063 could be safely administered in single or divided doses, at levels that exceeded theoretical efficacious levels predicted by animal models. In addition, PMX-30063 killed Staph bacteria, including MRSA, in human serum in blood samples drawn from subjects in the study. PolyMedix is working towards starting a Phase 2 efficacy study in patients with Staph infections with PMX-30063.

About PolyMedix, Inc.

PolyMedix is a publicly traded biotechnology company focused on the development of novel drugs and biomaterials for the treatment of serious acute cardiovascular disorders and infectious diseases. PolyMedix uses a rational drug design approach to create non-peptide small molecule drug candidates and polymers that mimic the activity of proteins. PMX-60056, PolyMedix’s lead heptagonist compound, is being developed to reverse the anticoagulant activity of both heparin and low molecular weight heparins. PolyMedix believes that PMX-60056 could potentially be a safer and easier to use anticoagulant reversing agent, with broader activity, than the currently approved therapy for reversing heparin. PMX-30063, PolyMedix’s lead antibiotic compound, is a small molecule that mimics human host-defense proteins and has a mechanism of action distinct from those of current antibiotic drugs, a mechanism which is intended to make bacterial resistance unlikely to develop. PolyMedix plans to develop this compound for serious systemic Staphylococcal infections, including MRSA. Both PMX-60056 heptagonist and PMX-30063 antibiotic are undergoing clinical testing. PolyMedix also plans to continue the development of its PolyCides™, polymeric formulations as antimicrobial biomaterials, which can be used as additives to paints, plastics, and textiles to create self-sterilizing products and surfaces. For more information, please visit our website at www.polymedix.com.

This press release contains forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause PolyMedix’s actual results and experience to differ materially from anticipated results and expectations expressed in these forward looking statements. PolyMedix has in some cases identified forward-looking statements by using words such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “hopes,” “estimates,” “looks,” “expects,” “plans,” “intends,” “goal,” “potential,” “may,” “suggest,” and similar expressions. Among other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in forward-looking statements, PolyMedix’s compounds may not successfully complete clinical testing, or be granted regulatory approval to be sold and marketed in the United States or elsewhere. A more complete description of these risk factors is included in PolyMedix’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. PolyMedix undertakes no obligation to release publicly the results of any revisions to any such forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this press release or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as required by applicable law or regulation.


PolyMedix, Inc.
Lisa Caperelli, 484-598-2406
Director, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications
[email protected]
Erika Moran, 212-825-3210
[email protected]
Janet Vasquez, 212-825-3210
[email protected]

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Pennsylvania

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Health  Biotechnology  Cardiology  Clinical Trials  Infectious Diseases  Research  Science  General Health