Clarametyx Biosciences Innovates Drug Therapies to Combat Bacterial Infections

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When someone gets sick with a bacterial infection, doctors typically prescribe antibiotics. Although antibiotics are often an effective treatment, bacteria can develop the ability to evade these drugs, a process known as antimicrobial resistance. Columbus startup Clarametyx Biosciences is envisioning new ways to fight antimicrobial-resistant infections, with an innovative approach to drug treatments.

“Bacteria form a protective shield called a biofilm, which makes infections harder to treat,” CEO David Richards said. “Our lead drug rapidly removes that biofilm barrier. We’re also developing an early-stage vaccine that is designed to prevent the formation of that biofilm structure. It’s a scientifically novel approach that has the potential to broadly transform care and how we treat patients with serious bacterial infections.”

The biotechnology was originally invented at Nationwide Children’sHospital by Dr. Lauren Bakaletz and Dr. Steven Goodman. Over the course of a decade, they conducted significant early-stage and nonclinical testing for the approach. Richards and Clarametyx Board Chair Dr. Michael Triplett first connected with them at an Ohio State presentation in 2015, which ultimately spurred Clarametyx’s 2020 partnership with Nationwide Children’s to use the technology for creating and testing new therapies that targeted biofilm.

“We think biofilms are a major driver because they cause antibiotics to be less effective,” Richards said. “People end up requiring longer courses of the drugs due to the presence of the biofilm, which not all antibiotics are able to fight. We can make the body clear the infection better by removing that barrier, which allows antibiotics to do their job and could have a broad impact on existing and new antibiotics that are developed.”

The potential impact of Clarametyx’s technology also extends to other diseases that are affected by bacteria, such as pneumonia and cystic fibrosis. The drug is currently in the clinical testing stage of development, but the startup is already gearing up to branch out into therapies and preventative approaches for specific diseases.

“We were able to secure funding to help get our pneumonia program into the clinic for our first clinical trial,” he said. “It’s a huge step for the company. We’re currently testing our lead drug, CMTX-101, in healthy volunteers and will soon transition to testing in pneumonia patients. We’ve also evolved our clinical strategy to include a planned, early trial in cystic fibrosis because we think this drug has a lot of potential to help with infections for those who have chronic respiratory diseases.”

Seed funding from Rev1 Ventures and the Ohio Innovation Fund, both regional partners of Ohio Third Frontier, played a key role in building momentum and enabling the clinical trial, and with a robust investor community that’s constantly growing, the future looks bright for later stages of the trial in Columbus. For Richards, the most exciting aspect of all is the positive impact of the startup’s work for patients and the medical community.

“I’m really excited about our technology and what it can do for patients, both from a treatment and vaccination perspective,” he said. “It could truly be a game changer for many patient categories and the medical field. We have a real passion for this space and hope our drug can have a profound impact on how we’re able to treat serious bacterial infections.”

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