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EIT Health-supported PhagoMed acquired by BioNTech

9th November 2021

Today we are pleased to announce the acquisition of one of our supported start-ups; PhagoMed GmbH, by BioNTech SE. PhagoMed is developing novel synthetic lysin technology for precision antimicrobial treatments and was accelerated by EIT Health.

According to the World Health Organisation, AMR is a global health and development threat requiring urgent action. AMR is caused by certain bacteria becoming resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics available today, due to overuse and misuse. A growing list of infections are becoming harder, and sometimes, impossible to treat, as antibiotics become less effective.1 Amongst other actions, new therapies to treat infections are needed to reduce the threat.

Antimicrobial resistance is a huge concern for public health all over the world. Science and innovation is needed to find new and alternative solutions to antibiotics that are losing effectiveness, as we have seen from the last two years that we are not safe from infectious diseases. We saw great potential in PhagoMed to contribute towards solving this problem. We are honoured to have supported the innovative science and talented team at PhagoMed, and we congratulate them on their achievement,” said Jan-Philipp Beck, CEO of EIT Health.

PhagoMed use lysins to fight bacterial infections as an alternative to antibiotics. Lysins are enzymes produced by bacteriophages – the most abundant and diverse entity on earth that break down bacterial cell walls and thereby kill bacteria. Lysins are also very precise, meaning they selectively kill only specific groups of bacteria. PhagoMed’s LysinBuilder platform enables the development of synthetic lysins resulting in a novel class of targeted antibacterials and the potential to revolutionise the treatment of bacterial infections.

“We are thrilled to partner with BioNTech to further advance our synthetic lysin technology to address pressing health challenges,” said Alexander Belcredi and Lorenzo Corsini, co-CEOs of PhagoMed. “We thank the team and our mentors at EIT Health for their support to help us refine our pipeline, platform and business model that enabled us to achieve our critical business goals in this short timeline.”

Vienna-based PhagoMed have enjoyed support from several EIT Health programmes, including the EIT Health Catapult. They won second place in the 2020 EIT Health Catapult competition within the biotech category. PhagoMed joined our Gold Track programme in June 2020 with a strong team and a promising idea. They were supported over a period of 12 months to define their strategy and business model, accelerating them towards the acquisition.

  1. Who.int. 2021. Antimicrobial resistance. [online] Available at: <https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/antimicrobial-resistance> [Accessed 9 November 2021].

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