Matinas BioPharma Holdings Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:MTNB) (FRA:6LJ) has unveiled positive news for its oral Amikacin (MAT2501) candidate, with the firm awarded $3.75 million from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) to support the drug's pre-clinical development as a treatment for nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease, including infections in cystic fibrosis (CF) sufferers.
The funds will allow the biotech group to rapidly advance the development of MAT2501 and support preclinical in-vitro and in-vivo studies, along with several toxicology studies necessary to progress the drug into Phase 2 trials.
Notably, the CFF has also indicated it may be willing to fund the continuation of clinical studies, including dose determination and Phase 2 efficacy studies in CF patients suffering from NTM lung disease.
In a statement hailing the award, Jerome D. Jabbour, CEO of Matinas, said: "These are debilitating, potentially life-threatening, and increasingly prevalent pulmonary infections, especially in patients with cystic fibrosis.
"We believe that an orally bioavailable amikacin, which takes advantage of our LNC delivery platform, would be the first oral aminoglycoside and would represent a significant improvement over currently available therapy."
Jabbour pointed out that the drug could also potentially be of "considerable value in treating other acute bacterial infections, especially gram-negative infections, where oral options are very limited and drug resistance is an increasing challenge".
"We look forward to continuing to work with the CF Foundation on realizing the potential of our LNC delivery platform," he added.
The signs and symptoms of NTM lung disease, a chronic condition, often overlap with underlying lung conditions that increase risk for NTM, like cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, COPD, and asthma and the prevalence of human disease attributable to NTM has increased in the last 20 years and is now growing at more than 8% per year and is even more prevalent than tuberculosis in the USA.
In 2018, it was estimated that between 75,000 and 100,000 patients were diagnosed with NTM lung disease in the US alone.
MAT2501 has been designated as a qualified infectious disease product (QIDP) and as an orphan drug for the treatment of NTM by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
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