Despite numerous achievements in the development of anti-infectives, infectious disease remains a leading cause of death worldwide. The World Health Organization declares superbugs a fundamental threat to humans. Many germs and bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to standard anti-infective drugs, making treatment difficult or even impossible. Appili Therapeutics is looking to win the war on infectious disease by developing novel approaches to fight drug-resistant infections .

Antimicrobial resistance is driven by the overuse and improper use of antibiotics and anti-infectives. While historically there have been many alternative antibiotics available for treatment of bacterial infections, today the development of antibiotics has slowed dramatically. Appili Therapeutics is developing novel strategies to bring new classes of antibiotics and anti-infectives to the clinic to improve treatment and health of patients suffering from infection.

The company, which is just over a year old, has already made big strides towards its goal in the fight against infectious disease. In April, it was awarded Orphan Drug designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its lead drug candidate, ATI-1501. ATI- 1501 is a taste-masked reformulation of metronidazole with the potential to effectively treat Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in children.

CDI is one of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s most urgent antibiotic-resistant START-UP SPOTLIGHT bacterial threats. CDI affects over half a million Canadians and Americans each year. Annually, it reoccurs in 83,000 patients and is responsible for 29,000 deaths. The incidence of CDI in children has been steadily increasing over recent years, and thus a taste masked metronidazole formulation is urgently needed.

In May, the company announced that it had raised $3.2 million in a seed round to advance research and development of its anti-infective drug candidates and open a medicinal chemistry lab in Halifax.

The company plans to take its lead candidate, ATI-1501, into clinical trials in 2017. Appili’s drug development team will also continue to work on its second product, ATI-1503. ATI-1503 is a novel antibiotic with broad potential to treat deadly Gram-negative infections. The U.S. Centre for Disease Control has identified Gram-negative infections as those which pose the highest threat to human health, making ATI-1503 a drug treatment with potential blockbuster status for Appili.

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