THE BIG PICTURE

The UK government commissioned report published in 2016 by Jim O’Neill, highlights the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This is particularly evident for Gram negative bacteria, where resistance is now emerging to even last resort antibiotics, such as colistin. The report suggests that unless action is taken, the global burden of deaths from AMR could balloon to 10 million lives each year by 2050.

THE COMPANY

Phico Therapeutics is a biotechnology company developing a novel platform technology which it believes could form the basis for a new generation of antibiotics to overcome antibacterial resistance.

MEET THE TEAM

  • Dr Heather Fairhead FOUNDER & CEO

    Dr Fairhead has over 20 years’ experience directing research teams in a variety of disciplines and has led Phico in developing SASPject technology from a concept through a Phase I clinical trial. Prior to her scientific career, Heather worked in sales and marketing in a wide range of industries.

    Dr Heather Fairhead FOUNDER & CEO

  • Dr Anthony Martin CHAIRMAN

    Dr Martin has more than 25 years' experience in providing life science and biotechnology companies counsel on a range of strategic, management and funding issues, including as Chairman of anti-infectives company, NeuTec Pharma plc, where he played a pivotal role in guiding the company’s sale to Novartis for over £300M.

    Dr Anthony Martin CHAIRMAN

  • Allan Hirst NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

    Allan has spent 24 years with Citigroup, in the last 15 years leading Citibank’s expansion into central and Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia. Since retiring from Citigroup, he has served as an Independent Director on a variety of Supervisory Boards; helping to IPO two of them via Premium Listings on the London Stock Exchange (Bank of Georgia Group and Georgia Healthcare Group).

    Allan Hirst NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

  • Dr Robert Nolan NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

    Robert has over 30 years’ experience in big pharma, including from 1989 to end 2004 as Director of Global Licensing at AstraZeneca. Bob is a non-executive director of Epistem Ltd. He gained his Ph.D. in biochemistry from King’s College, London, and completed two post-doctoral fellowships in the US at Dartmouth Medical School and MIT.

    Dr Robert Nolan NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

  • Professor Mark Wilcox NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

    Mark is a Consultant Microbiologist, Head of Research and Development in Microbiology at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals (LTHT), Professor of Medical Microbiology at the University of Leeds (Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine), and is the Lead on Clostridium difficile for Public Health England (PHE) and Medical Advisor to National Infection Prevention...

    Professor Mark Wilcox NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

  • David Beadle NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

    David Beadle has over 25 years’ experience in the healthcare and finance industries and brings a wealth of knowledge in investment banking, finance and life sciences. David started his career working in the pharmaceutical industry for Schwarz Pharma and Schering AG in marketing and strategic development, where he was part of the global...

    David Beadle NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

  • Dr James Cass RESEARCH MANAGER

    Microbiologist with over 10 years' experience in the biotech and anti-infectives industry; Biocontrol Ltd (Ampliphi Biosciences)

    Dr James Cass RESEARCH MANAGER

  • Mr Andrew Armour FINANCE DIRECTOR

    Andrew is a Chartered Accountant with wide industry experience including healthcare, particularly in financial restructuring, equity fundraising and corporate acquisitions and disposals. Andrew was the Finance Director of Colchester Hospital...

    Mr Andrew Armour FINANCE DIRECTOR

TECHNOLOGY

SASP gene expression system delivered to target bacteria via SASPject NDV

Bacteria read SASP gene and make SASP

SASP’s bind to and inactivate bacterial DNA

SASP gene expression system delivered to target bacteria via SASPject NDV

Bacteria read SASP gene and make SASP

SASP’s bind to and inactivate bacterial DNA

Our SASPject™ platform delivers pan-spectrum anti-bacterial proteins called small acid-soluble spore proteins, or SASPs, to selected bacterial species using targetable nano-delivery vehicles (NDVs). SASPject™ works by injecting a gene that encodes SASP directly into the targeted bacteria. The injected gene then produces SASPs, which bind to bacterial DNA and inactivate it. SASPs “turn off” DNA so the targeted bacterial cell cannot metabolise or reproduce. The immune system can then remove the bacteria from the body.

SASPs bind to all bacterial DNA, irrespective of the sequence of that DNA. Spontaneous mutations in DNA, or the import of new DNA that gives new characteristics to the bacterial cell, are key ways in which bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics. Neither of these strategies affects the ability of SASP to bind to and inactivate bacterial DNA.

This approach has the potential to provide a number of significant advantages over traditional antibiotics:

  • The unique mode of action of SASP makes it unlikely the bacteria will be able to develop resistance to this anti-bacterial protein
  • SASPject technology can be used to target any selected bacteria, individual or multiple bacterial species or genera, including those that are multi-antibiotic resistant.
  • Unlike conventional antibiotics, SASPject has no effect on any bacteria other than those at which it is targeted. Normal skin and gut bacteria (“good bacteria”) are unharmed.
  • SASPject target specificity prevents the release of toxins and other inflammatory cell components from non-target bacteria thus potentially minimising associated side effects.
  • SASPject has the potential to limit the further spread of antibiotic resistance genes and to shrink the current antibiotic resistance pool

Our SASPject™ platform delivers pan-spectrum anti-bacterial proteins called small acid-soluble spore proteins, or SASPs, to selected bacterial species using targetable nano-delivery vehicles (NDVs). SASPject™ works by injecting a gene that encodes SASP directly into the targeted bacteria.

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OUR PRODUCTS

SASPject™ PT3 is being developed against Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These infections can involve any part of the human body, but most commonly cause urinary tract, lung, bloodstream, wound/burn, and intra-abdominal infections.  P. aeruginosa is responsible for a number of hospital-acquired infections with its incidence in intensive care units having risen sharply and its incidence almost doubling between the mid 1970’s and early 2000’s. The increasing incidence of P. aeruginosa of strains showing multi-drug resistance against commonly used first-line antibiotics has resulted in the U.S. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) classifying P. aeruginosa as a serious threat to human health. The PT3 project has been supported by Innovate UK.

SASPject™ PT4 and SASPject™ PT5 are being developed for systemic (intravenous) use against both Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli respectively. These bacteria cause a wide range of infections, which can be serious or life threatening as isolates which are resistant to almost all conventional antibiotics continue to spread around the globe, resulting in very poor treatment outcomes. PT4 and PT5 projects are supported by a Wellcome Translation Award.

SASPject™ PT1.2 targets Staphylococcus aureus, including MRSA. MRSA infections are now a global problem in hospitals, with thousands of fatalities recorded as a result of their presence, and their control is vital to many national health systems. SASPject™ PT1.2 will be used for the intra-nasal decolonisation of the bacteria. A Phase I clinical trial has been successfully completed.

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MEDIA AND INVESTORS

The Mail on Sunday 11 March 2018

New investment in Phico Therapeutics

11/03/2018

The Naked Scientists Interview: Little Pharma, off the beaten track

Dr Heather Fairhead, Interview with The Naked Scientists – “Little Pharma: Off the beaten track”

12/09/2017

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire – Morning Show:

Dr Heather Fairhead, Phico’s CEO, talks to Dotty McLeod about PT3

17/11/2016

Press Release:

PR Growing UK Biotech Company.

15/11/2016

Press Release:

Phico moves forward with global fight against antibiotic resistant ‘superbugs’, raising more than £3.5M to take its lead PT3 program into the clinic.

15/11/2016

Press Release:

Phico Appoints Dr Nicki Thompson as CBO

26/01/2016

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

Dr Heather Fairhead, Phico’s CEO, talks to Dotty McLeod on the Breaksfast Show during World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2015.

18/11/2015

BBC Look East.

Dr Heather Fairhead, Phico’s CEO, is interviewed as part of an article on antibiotic resistance, during the 2015 World Antibiotic Awareness Week.

18/11/2015

Press Release:

Phico Therapeutics Receives Translation Award To Advance Its SASPject™ PT4 aimed at Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae Towards Clinical Trials

03/09/2015

The Guardian:

Scientist raises £750,000 to develop weapon against MRSA

08/01/2015

Andie Harper’s Mid Morning Show, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire:

Radio Interview with Phico Therapeutics’ CEO, Dr Heather Fairhead. Heather discusses the problems we are facing with antibiotic resistant bacteria.

08/01/2015

BBC Radio 5 Live:

Interview with Dr Heather Fairhead, Phico’s CEO, following the call to arms for development of new antibiotics by Professor Dame Sally Davies, UK Chief Medical Officer.

03/11/2013

Cambridge Business:

Article on Dr Heather Fairhead, Phico’s CEO.

06/01/2013

Wired Magazine:

Phico Therapeutics and its technology features in the pages of Wired Magazine.

11/01/2014

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Researchers find antibiotics in 65% of rivers sampled in 72 countries, the presence of which may promote further spread of bacterial #AntibioticResistance
https://t.co/V5qrJlqyny

Successful treatment of the world’s first patient to receive genetically engineered phage to treat an infection with #AntibioticResistance
https://t.co/fI4xMfM3EU

New report of @UN panel says that infections with #AntibioticResistance could kill 10 million people annually by 2050
https://t.co/6522jmL4Kk

UK’s chief medical officer says that #AntibioticResistance should be considered as great a threat to humanity as climate change
https://t.co/XfHWomhUEM

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