Xyphos, Inc. to Develop Cell-based Therapeutics for Cancer; Pylum Biosciences, Inc. to Concentrate on the Microbiome

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA I November 1, 2017 I AvidBiotics, a privately held biotechnology company, today announced that its stockholders and Board of Directors have approved the division of the company into two separate entities in order to foster the development of AvidBiotics’ two robust and diverse technology platforms and their respective clinical candidates. While both technology platforms developed by AvidBiotics selectively destroy targeted cells with surgical precision, one concentrates on cancer cells, while the other targets pathogenic bacteria, such as those that disrupt the gut, genitourinary, or skin microbiome. One company, Xyphos, Inc., will be focused on immuno-oncology applications and the other company, Pylum Biosciences, Inc., on antibacterial proteins for microbiota management and drug-resistant bacteria.  The two new companies will be initially located in South San Francisco.

“As an investor in AvidBiotics we believe this action will help unlock the value and accelerate the development of these two platforms,” said Kevin Cameron, independent Board member of AvidBiotics and co-founder of Glass-Lewis & Co.  “Cell-based cancer therapy and microbiota management are two of the most exciting areas of research today.  Separating into two companies allows each organization to leverage fully the opportunities afforded by these rich technology platforms.”

Both companies will seek financing independently to advance their respective programs.

Xyphos, Inc.: Immuno-oncology focused company with flexible CAR-T technology

Xyphos has developed an advanced Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T technology for producing enhanced cell therapies.  Xyphos has built a convertibleCAR™ cell platform for the creation of therapeutics that deploy engineered cells of the immune system to destroy cancer cells.  Specifically, company scientists have created a uniquely modified human receptor for a CAR-T cell that can be selectively controlled using bispecific antibody-like molecules. These molecules, known as MicAbody® proteins, connect the CAR and any specifically targeted tumor antigen.  Employing this technology, the company intends to bypass the need to develop different CAR-T cells for each target — and eventually even for each patient.  These convertibleCAR cells are designed to have their activity and targeting controlled by MicAbody protein dosing during therapy.

CAR-T therapy promises to be an effective new weapon in the fight against cancer.  In order to achieve its full potential, CAR-T therapy must evolve to address a number of important limitations such as a lack of dose control, toxicities related to excess release of cytokines (called a “cytokine storm”) and those related to targeting non-tumor cells (“on-target, off tumor” effects), as well as an inability to gain access to all cancerous cells throughout the body.

“Xyphos’ convertibleCAR technology combines the flexibility of bispecific antibodies with the efficacy of CAR-T cells,” said Jim Knighton, Xyphos’ Chief Executive Officer.  “We believe our ability to develop a single CAR-T cell capable of treating multiple diseases will result in a system that can be more easily designed, produced and delivered safely to the patient.”

The company’s near-term focus will be on advancing its lead convertibleCAR-T cell and MicAbody, now in preclinical development, to patients who have failed standard and even conventional CAR-T cell therapy.  For more information on Xyphos, please visit the company’s website at www.xyphosinc.com

Pylum Biosciences, Inc.: Microbiome-focused company with precision anti-bacterial technology

Pylum Biosciences has developed a unique technology, known as the Avidocin™ platform.  Avidocin proteins are highly potent and precise antibacterial agents that can be engineered to target virtually any bacteria, including those that are antibiotic-resistant, without damaging the helpful, resident bacteria included in a healthy microbiota. 

“Pylum is pursuing antibiotic-resistant pathogens and, with its initial drug candidate targeted at Clostridium difficile, is planning to enter clinical testing late next year,” said David Martin, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Pylum.  “The preclinical results generated to date are extremely compelling, demonstrating the potential power and broad applications of this technology not only in human therapeutics and prophylaxis but also animal health and food safety.”

The intestines, or “gut”, harbor a rich and diverse number of microorganisms. When out of balance these microorganisms can wreak havoc, potentially causing any number of health problems not previously recognized as related to the specific intestinal population of microorganisms.  Avidocin proteins, Pylum’s new class of narrow-spectrum bacteria-killing agents, offer a potential solution to overcome two key problems with broad-spectrum antibiotics: the rampant spread of drug resistance and the unintended damage to healthy, protective bacteria that comprise the various microbiota.  For more information on Pylum Biosciences, please visit the company’s website at www.pylumbio.com

Avidocin™, convertibleCAR™ and MicAbody® are a trademarks of AvidBiotics.

SOURCE: AvidBiotics