German smartbax closes seed financing of €1.2M for 'new solutions against multi-drug resistant pathogens'

By Liza Laws

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Antibiotics Antibiotic resistance Pharmacology Financing round seed financing

A biotech advancing small molecule antibiotics through preclinical studies has closed its seed financing round of €1.2million ($1.3million) from Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF) and High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF).

The funds will allow smartbax to expand the company’s scientific team to further develop its research platforms and look for new solutions against multi-drug resistant pathogens.

Unlike regular antibacterial approaches, smartbax’s product candidates have a double-targeted mechanism of action.

The company says this inhibits essential processes in the energy metabolism of multi-resistant bacteria and creates a stimulation of the bacteria’s protein secretion which leads to a self-digest of the cells.

Robert Macsics, CEO and Co-founder of smartbax, said: “The growing number of multi-drug resistant infections, which are accountable for 1.3 million annual worldwide deaths, highlights the need for completely new approaches in treating resistant infections.

“We are convinced that our differentiating approach can overcome the limitations of currently available antibiotics and that we can thus develop effective therapeutics against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.”  

smartbax was founded in 2021 by Macsics, Marco Janezic, and Stephan Sieber and was supported by BIVF with a first pre-seed financing of €700,000.

The company’s scientific foundation, it says, is based on revolutionary research derived by Sieber’s research group from the Technical University of Munich. The research was awarded the VIP+ validation prize by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as well as the m4 award by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy.

Angelika Vlachou, partner at HTGF said: “The novel mechanisms of action being developed by smartbax could open new pathways in the treatment of severe bacterial infections. Moreover, the approach has the promise to overcome existing resistance mechanisms and makes a rapid spread of new resistances unlikely. I am glad that we can support smartbax’s scientifically strong team on their journey to address a challenge of utmost societal relevance.”

The company says it specializes in the tailored activation of enzymatic pathways, as this approach is particularly promising in the context of difficult-to-treat biofilms. They say ‘knowing that preventing a resistance crisis tomorrow means acting today’.

Sebastian Kreuz, investment manager at BIVF, said: “The development of novel antibiotics is an important contribution to fight multi-drug resistant bacterial infections. smartbax’s founding team takes a highly innovative approach with the potential for broad applicability in numerous indications.

“We are delighted to accompany smartbax in their future research activities and to thereby support the development of new and urgently needed therapeutic strategies concerning bacterial infections.”

The company says its team of experts works on solutions focusing on substances that simultaneously address several targets, thus hindering resistance development in bacteria. It also specializes in the tailored activation of enzymatic pathways, as it believes this approach is particularly promising in the context of difficult-to-treat biofilms. smartbax was founded in 2021 in Munich.

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