Sepsis a whole-body inflammatory response to an infection and the worldwide incidence of the disease is estimated to be 18 million cases per year.
Opsonix, Wyss Institute's newest startup, has announced that it will use the $8 million in proceeds from Baxter Ventures and private investor Hansjorg Wyss to develop an advanced therapy for sepsis.
The treatment is especially designed to remove infectious pathogens and toxins from circulating blood. It offers a new broad-spectrum approach to treat blood-borne infectious diseases, including sepsis.
According to researchers, the technology is based on proprietary pathogen-capture proteins. Its lead molecule is a recombinant human protein derived from mannose binding lectin (MBL) fused to the fragment crystallizable region (Fc region) of human immunoglobulin (FcMBL). (Fc region is the tail region of an antibody that interacts with cell surface receptors called Fc receptors and some proteins of the complement system).
When the FcMBL is attached to the membrane of a dialyzer-type device, it can remove a broad range of bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses, and toxins responsible for initiating the sepsis cascade. Opsonix's therapy has been designed to work in synergy with conventional antibiotic treatments.
"Opsonix's pathogen-extracting therapy provides a novel therapeutic solution leveraging the broad binding activities of a natural human protein that may rapidly remove sepsis-causing pathogens - and the toxins they release - from a patient's blood. With our FcMBL-based pathogen-extracting therapy, treatment of blood-borne infectious disease can be initiated earlier in the course of infection, when it is most needed, without having to wait to identify the disease-causing pathogen. With the strong support of our investors and a compelling body of evidence developed by our scientific founders, Opsonix will move forward expeditiously with preclinical studies to advance our pathogen-extracting therapy," said Eric Devroe, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Opsonix.