Bioxiness Pharmaceuticals (Private)
September 24, 2012 Issue
The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information
Developing a New Class of Antibiotics that have Not Been Addressed in the Past with Compounds Focused on Critical Target-Enzymes within the Pathogenic Bacterial Cells, the Value of Bioxiness Pharmaceuticals is Extremely High
Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – September 24, 2012
Dr. Bassiri: The problem that the medical field is facing is bacterial resistance to current drugs. I would like to highlight on this critical issue from two opposing perspectives; one is how did we come to face this problem? The problem came along with misuse, overuse and abuse of existing antibiotics, particularly in the last few decades. The second issue is lack of innovation during the last forty years within the industry. The combination of these two factors pushed clinicians to basically use, misuse and overuse the available antibiotics. As a result, bacteria developed resistance, and resistance is not responding to all antibiotics. We are trying to solve this problem.
CEOCFO: What is your approach?
Dr. Bassiri: The Company’s approach is to develop a new class of antibiotics. What that means is the criteria for developing a new class of antibiotics are three-fold. First, you have to identify an un-explored as well as under-explored target within the bacteria. Second, you have to start with new medicinal chemistry, not to go through reprisal of old antibiotics. That is very important. Thirdly, you have to make sure that you are hitting the bacteria selectively. You must have a better delivery system into the bacterial cell as opposed to the human cell. I would remind you, underexplored target, new chemistry and delivery system are the critical requirements for a new class of antibiotics. Bioxiness is trying to address all three of these simultaneously.
CEOCFO: What have you discovered so far?
Dr. Bassiri: We are a preclinical-stage company focused on discovery and development of a new class of antibiotics with a management and advisory team that have extensive, highly relevant experience.
We have invented a library of compounds that are new chemical class (NCC). These compounds target critical enzymes specific to bacterial cells. The molecules employ a unique mode of antimicrobial actions: inhibiting bacterial growth at the initiation and elongation of protein synthesis. Our new medicinal chemistry approach goes after underexplored bacterial target, delivering molecules selectively into bacterial cells. We are building data around our technology to push it forward based on our combined team expertise.
CEOCFO: Are you able to give us a little bit more specifics? You mentioned new chemistry; what is it you are doing that has not been done before?
Dr. Bassiri: The new chemistry we are developing is based on trying to learn what nature does best all the time. We are using a template, an amino acid that is essential and indispensable for bacteria’s own lifecycle. We are trying to mimic that molecule which we call an “analog” but make it drug-like. Therefore, bacteria will pick up our mimic compound as it would pick up its own amino acid and then incorporate it into the cycle of turning that into protein. Fortunately for us and unfortunately for bacteria, that turns into a deadly substance that kills the bacteria.
CEOCFO: Has the medical community paid attention or is it still under the radar screen?
Dr. Bassiri: In terms of requirements for a new class of antibiotics, there is hardly any newspaper or journal that does not talk about the need for new antibiotics. Let me quote from the commissioner of the FDA, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, who said that “if we do not have new antibiotics within the next few years, we could easily return to the pre-antibiotic era in which we no longer have effective tools to treat serious infectious disease”…. I will also highlight one reference that is in the recent journal of Nature Biotechnology (August 2012), that the government GAIN Act, which focuses on the generation of new antibiotics, is becoming part of national legislation as of October 2012. Therefore, our area is getting a lot of attention. The Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA), as well as organizations that support the generation of new antibiotics, have one slogan and that is “A Generation of Ten New Antibiotics by 2020”. We are hoping that in the next few months there will be an opportunity to go after new funding for research and development for new antibiotics. Therefore, new investment needs to be poured into this area to get the milestones that are required.
CEOCFO: Does the strength of your team, account for some of the attention you are getting or is it more ideas or both?
Dr. Bassiri: I think both. Today’s biotech companies are evaluated from two different sides. First, if the idea is novel. Second, who is behind it? Our management team, including our advisory team, has extensive combined experience. Their scientific contributions with their scientific publications speak of that. Some of these individuals who have received lifetime achievement awards in their respective fields like Dr. Bruce Ames, Dr Martin Robson and a few others have been well known in their respective communities. It is the idea and management team behind Bioxiness. They are passionate about science and extremely committed to both research and business.
CEOCFO: What is happening day to day at Bioxiness?
Dr. Bassiri: We are engaged in pushing science forward and gaining some community attention from a fundraising point of view. As you know, research and development in drug discovery is very capital intensive. However, we are extremely lucky in that we are within the indication that is a question of being healthy or being sick. We are focused on cures to patients. Those cures could come in the hospital where acquiring an infection is almost like a deadly ticket. We are hoping that we will make a big difference in anti-infective discoveries.
CEOCFO: Are you reaching out internationally?
Dr. Bassiri: Bioxiness is a US based company. The research and development focus is keeping everything within the United States. However, our marketing opportunities are based on our intellectual property disclosures as well as filing patents beyond our national borders. We have already taken our intellectual property applications into more than ten of the most profitable countries, and we keep filing additional applications.
CEOCFO: Is then interest in new antibiotics across the board worldwide or are some countries still behind in facing the problem?
Dr. Bassiri: European countries are facing the same problem; however, their governments are putting a lot of attention and action in place. A recently generated program is the Transatlantic Task Force for Anti-infective. They are collaboratively taking this challenge very seriously, putting money as well as scientific effort behind it. Other countries are trying but it is not an easy job.
CEOCFO: How do you get the attention of the investment community?
Dr. Bassiri: So far, we have invested our own capital as well as investment from our board members and some scientists who had worked in this area in the past. We are constantly pursuing fundraising by talking to high net worth individuals, participating in local investment forums, as well as investment conferences and seeking serious funding. We hope that interviews like your magazine and medical journals, will allow us to speak out and bring the funding issue to the investment community and subsequently lead to the necessary investments into the company.
CEOCFO: Is Bioxiness Pharmaceuticals able to move forward without additional funding?
Dr. Bassiri: Any research and development company’s fuel is capital. So far we have advanced our R&D with very lean operation by making partners with other companies and CROs. We have been successful in pushing this business model forward. However, at this critical juncture capital is immediately needed to reach our milestones, and we are seeking investments as we speak.
CEOCFO: Our readers are primarily investors, always looking at new opportunities. Why does Bioxiness Pharmaceuticals stand out?
Dr. Bassiri: Bioxiness’ clear message is to develop a new class of antibiotics that has not been addressed or developed in the past. The value for this is extremely high, because we are not only going to be able to kill the bacteria that is pathogenic in the clinic, but also the bacteria that does not respond to old antibiotics and has developed a resistance to old antibiotics. The clear message to the community is we are innovative. We are putting new medicine into the market that has not been there before.
CEOCFO: I would imagine that the fact that people would easily understand your concept as opposed to many other bio-pharma companies. Do you feel that is beneficial?
Absolutely. Infection is indiscriminate. That means
it impacts all of us at personal, professional and community levels. There
is hardly anyone at any age that has not been infected at least once in
their lifetime. There is a call for everybody, and we are trying to provide
that need hopefully soon.
Bioxiness’ clear message is to develop a new class of antibiotics that has not been addressed or developed in the past. The value for this is extremely high - Mansour Bassiri
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