Telephus Medical Founder Awarded $6 Million NIH Grant to Expand Translational Research in Bone Infections

Thursday, November 16, 2017 Research News
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SAN DIEGO, Nov. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Telephus Medical ("Telephus"), a biotechnology company focused on discovering and

developing innovative immunotherapy products to treat life-threatening antibiotic-resistant infections, announced today that Edward Schwarz, Ph.D., Telephus Founder, Chief Scientific Officer, and Burton Professor of Orthopaedics
and Director of the Center for Musculoskeletal Research ("CMSR") at the University of Rochester Medical Center ("URMC") has been awarded a $6 million, five-year grant from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at the National Institutes of Health ("NIH").

This grant will allow URMC to create an integrated multidisciplinary translational research program devoted to studying bone infections. The CMSR has been among the top five NIH-funded orthopedic research centers in the nation for over ten years, and 2017 awards are estimated to be $28 million by the end of the year. Dr. Schwarz has been the top NIH-funded orthopedic researcher in the nation over the past three years.

"The significant unmet medical need seen in patients with devastating bone infections is an indication that new, integrated approaches are direly needed to successfully treat these patients.  Bone infections such as staphylococcal periprosthetic joint infections, are often disabling and life threatening," said Dr. Schwarz.

Of the approximately one million Americans who have joint replacement surgery annually, approximately five percent develop osteomyelitis, a persistent infection with unacceptably high morbidity and mortality. The majority of these infections are caused by Staphylococcus aureus, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA osteomyelitis is a persistent, drug-resistant infection of bone by MRSA bacteria that often results in bone loss that can be devastating for patients who are undergoing joint replacement procedures or who suffer from orthopedic trauma. Dr. Schwarz and his team have uncovered a critical role in the disease played by AtlA, a staph virulence factor, which is the enzyme necessary for bacterial division, dissemination, and biofilm formation. 

"We are delighted that the NIH recognizes MRSA osteomyelitis as an area in critical need of novel therapeutic approaches," said Mark Benedyk, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Telephus. "We look forward to continue working with Dr. Schwarz to advance our understanding of critical bone infections and developing potentially life-saving treatments for patients who need them."

Telephus has the exclusive global license from the University of Rochester to develop, manufacture, and commercialize immunotherapy programs based on inventions from the Schwarz Laboratory that target AtlA, a key protein involved in the bone infection pathology seen in patients suffering from MRSA osteomyelitis. Based on this research, Telephus is advancing TPH 101, a proprietary targeted immunotherapy and monoclonal antibody that neutralizes a key enzyme subunit of AtlA and allows a patient's immune system to clear deep bone infection. This adjuvant immunotherapy approach is designed to enhance antibiotic activity without the side effects that additional antibiotics would generate in MRSA osteomyelitis patients. The Company is focused on advancing its TPH 101 clinical candidate into the clinic in 2019.

About Telephus

Telephus is dedicated to improving patients' lives by developing next-generation products that harness the power of the immune system to fight infection. Telephus is focused on the discovery and development of innovative immunotherapy products to fight methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) infections. The Company's lead program, TPH 101, is a monoclonal antibody for the treatment of MRSA osteomyelitis, a life-threatening bone infection that can occur as a complication of joint replacement surgery or orthopedic trauma. Seven million people in the United States are living with hip or knee replacements performed at the rate of one million procedures a year, and infection is a leading cause of implant failure. Telephus is located in San Diego. For more information, please visit


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SOURCE Telephus Medical


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