According to the multi-year collaboration and license agreement, the team plans to identify antibiotic scaffolds that target multi-drug-resistant Gram-negative pathogens.
X-Biotix spun out of the privately-held biotech X-Chem, which develops novel small molecule therapeutics using its DNA-encoding technology platform, DEX. X-Biotix plans to use the DEX platform to discover and develop chemical scaffolds that target Gram-negative pathogens.
The company also has access to assays for promising compounds from the X-Chem libraries, according to the license agreement with Harvard.
“I am excited about the application of X-Chem’s innovative and proprietary platform, which includes ‘antibiotic-like’ chemistry and ‘natural product-like’ chemical space to support our efforts in establishing a pipeline and advancing the development of novel antibiotic therapies,” X-Biotix CEO Ramani Varanasi said in prepared remarks. “The multi-target discovery strategy enabled by our foundational collaboration with researchers at HMS, combined with the screening of the ultra-large and diverse chemical space, uniquely positions X-Biotix to address the critical global challenge of resistance to antibiotics.”
“Recent advances in understanding the pathways that bacteria use to build critical components of their cells have revealed novel vulnerabilities ready to exploit for antibiotic discovery,” John Mekalanos added. Mekalanos is a professor of microbiology & immunobiology at Harvard, as well as a co-founder and chair of X-Biotix’s scientific advisory board. “It is exciting to embark on this new collaborative investigation that seeks novel solutions to the serious problem of antibiotic drug resistance.”
Multi-drug-resistant pathogens infect millions of people annually, according to the company, and the need for novel antibacterial therapies is expected to grow in the coming years.
“The formation of X-Biotix comes at a critical time in the industry, where the general void in antibiotic discovery efforts combined with the lack of specific efforts to discover and develop truly novel chemical scaffolds represents a challenge waiting to be addressed using a unique discovery approach,” X-Chem CEO Rick Wagner said.