MicroPharm Limited (“MicroPharm”) announced that it has secured a grant of £195,567 to further support the development of OraCAb, a therapeutic for oral administration of polyclonal antibodies to treat Clostridium difficile infections. This is part of a grant totalling £451,323 from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to a consortium led by MicroPharm comprising Public Health England (“PHE”) and University of Leeds.

The anaerobic spore forming bacterium Clostridium difficile is widely distributed and the most common cause of hospital acquired infection in the developed world. The clinical manifestations of C. difficile infection (CDI) are due to the release of two toxins, TcdA and TcdB. Thus, it is necessary to treat patients with CDI with an appropriate antibiotic to kill the bacteria together with specific antibodies that bind and neutralise the two toxins. MicroPharm and Public Health England (PHE) have been the first to recognise the need for both a systemic and an oral antibody-based approach depending upon the category of CDI. However, systemic immunotherapeutic products have several disadvantages. For example, they are unsuitable for outpatient use. However, most importantly, their prolonged administration evokes a host immune response leading to loss of efficacy and potential adverse effects. The biggest advantage offered by OraCAb is its freedom from adverse effects or loss of efficacy even if given continuously for weeks or months. It is also suitable for outpatient use.

The grant enables MicroPharm and our partners to undertake further in vitro and in vivo studies to provide supporting data for a clinical study. This partnership brings together MicroPharm’s leading expertise in immunotherapy together with PHE’s expertise in recombinant toxins and preclinical models and the University of Leeds’s expertise in in vitro modelling of CDI.