Company targets unmet medical need in millions of people around the world with drug resistant chronic airway infections
Durham, N.C., July 1, 2022 - Vast Therapeutics announces promising results with a nitric oxide
releasing drug candidate under investigation for infections caused by Mycobacterium abscessus, a multi-drug resistant bacteria for which there are currently no FDA-approved treatments. These results were presented by Dr. Mark Schoenfisch at the World Bronchiectasis & NTM Conference. Preclinical data show bactericidal activity in both acute and chronic models of M. abscessus infection with no evidence of drug resistance in the laboratory setting.
Non-tuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease is a serious infection caused by more than 120 types of common environmental mycobacteria including M. abscessus. Most people exposed to these bacteria do not get sick. However, those with underlying lung conditions like bronchiectasis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or cystic fibrosis are at greater risk. Chronic NTM infections can cause perpetual decline in lung function and frequent airway exacerbations.
“NTM infections are especially difficult to treat because mycobacteria grow so slowly and hide within airway cells to avoid the effects of antibiotics. For certain mycobacteria like M. abscessus, antibiotic therapies have simply not proven effective,” stated Mark Schoenfisch PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, Vast Therapeutics. “Our data indicate the potential to treat M. abscessus infections using a new therapeutic paradigm based on a nitric oxide releasing prodrug that acts locally and may avoid antimicrobial resistance common to traditional antibiotics. We are encouraged by our data and excited to begin our upcoming first-in-human clinical trial that will bring us closer to treating NTM patients.”
NTM is associated with high healthcare costs and high mortality. To date, treatment of NTM pulmonary disease requires multi-month or years of antibiotic therapy using a combination of antibiotic drugs approved for other infections. Such treatment is frequently complicated by limited efficacy, adverse side-effects, and poor tolerability. Mycobacteria that are not eliminated by the drugs readily develop resistance to the antibiotics, resulting in multi-drug resistant bacterial infections.
“I am very interested in the potential role of nitric oxide prodrugs as a therapy for NTM lung disease and other infections,” said Dr. Patrick Flume MD, Professor, Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina. “We know a great deal about the safety profile of nitric oxide and its other properties that may prove quite beneficial. These results represent a key development for the future treatment of non-tuberculous mycobacteria. We are in dire need for novel therapies against these infections.”
About Vast Therapeutics
Vast is a life science company focused on breaking the debilitating cycle of infection and chronic inflammation in respiratory diseases. This cycle affects patients across the entire spectrum of human life, ranging from children with rare orphan diseases like Cystic Fibrosis to adults with highly prevalent diseases like COPD. We believe our lead product candidate, known as ALX1, may provide an effective treatment for these patients infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, NTM, and other drug resistant pathogens.
Vast Therapeutics Inc. is an operating subsidiary of KNOW Bio, LLC and is headquartered in Durham, NC.
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Vast Therapeutics, Inc.