Destiny Pharma awarded grant to fund a research collaboration with the University of Sheffield targeting ophthalmic bacterial and fungal infections

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Destiny Pharma plc

(“Destiny Pharma” or “the company”)

Destiny Pharma awarded grant to fund a research collaboration with the University of Sheffield targeting ophthalmic bacterial and fungal infections

Collaboration to investigate antimicrobial candidates from the company’s XF drug platform against microbial infections of the eye

 Marks the fourth research grant Destiny Pharma has received in the past two years

Brighton, United Kingdom – 10 September 2019 – Destiny Pharma plc (AIM: DEST), a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on the development of novel antimicrobial drugs to address the global crisis caused by antimicrobial resistance (AMR), today announces it has been jointly awarded a National Biofilms Innovation Centre (NBIC) grant to fund a research collaboration with the Sheffield Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance and Biofilms at the University of Sheffield. The project aims to establish the potential of two of the Company’s proprietary XF drug compounds, DPD-207 and XF-73, as novel treatments for drug-resistant, bacterial and fungal infections in a dynamic ex vivo eye model. NBIC’s stated aim is to establish a network of research and innovation capacity catalysing collaboration with industry in the study of biofilms to achieve breakthrough and innovation. Financial terms of the collaboration have not been disclosed.

Drug resistant bacteria and fungi pose a significant threat across a range of ophthalmic infections and can result in vision impairment and blindness. Many chronic eye infections, such as bacterial keratitis and lacrimal/periorbital infections, are caused by microbes aggregating to form a biofilm. These biofilms are difficult to treat with conventional antibiotics, a problem which is exacerbated by the rise of AMR. Destiny Pharma’s XF drugs have already demonstrated efficacy in killing bacteria located in biofilms in early clinical studies.

The global ophthalmic drugs market size is currently valued at approximately $30 billion. A significant proportion of this market is therapeutics for ocular infections, which the Company estimates to be worth over $1 billion.

Neil Clark, Chief Executive Officer of Destiny Pharma, added:

We are excited to collaborate with the expert team at the University of Sheffield as we look to initiate our second research project in biofilms supported by the National Biofilms Innovation Centre. The project will explore the utility of our novel XF drug platform in the treatment of eye infections involving biofilms. Biofilms represent a significant barrier to antimicrobial treatment and this collaboration may help us identify additional clinical candidates for ocular indications in a billion-dollar market that are safe, effective and with a significantly reduced level of antimicrobial resistance. The project in part will further explore the potential of our lead drug, XF-73, which is also currently in Phase IIb clinical development for the prevention of post-surgical infections.”

Professor Peter Monk, Professor in the Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease at Sheffield University Medical School, commented:

The Sheffield Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance and Biofilms (SCARAB) was established in 2017 using funding from Innovate UK to support the development of new antimicrobial agents to treat severe infections. The partnership with NBIC and Destiny Pharma allows us to test new compounds against biofilms growing in living tissues.


For further information, please contact:

Destiny Pharma plc

Neil Clark, CEO

Shaun Claydon, CFO

+44 (0)1273 704 440

FTI Consulting

Simon Conway / Victoria Foster Mitchell

+44 (0) 20 3727 1000

finnCap Ltd (Nominated Advisor Joint Broker)

Geoff Nash /Kate Bannatyne, Corporate Finance

Alice Lane, Corporate Broking

+44 (0)20 7220 0500

WG Partners (Joint Broker)

Nigel Barnes / Claes Spång / Nigel Birks

+44 (0) 203 705 9330

About Destiny Pharma

Destiny Pharma is an established, clinical stage, innovative biotechnology company focused on the development of novel medicines from its XF Platform that represent a new approach to the treatment of infectious disease. The company’s lead programme is undergoing a Phase 2b clinical trial and is targeting the prevention of post-surgical hospital infections including MRSA. The XF drug candidates are being developed for the prevention and treatment of life-threatening infections caused by antibiotic‑resistant bacteria, often referred to as “superbugs”. Tackling anti-microbial resistance has become a global imperative recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations, as well as the G7 and the G20 countries. For further information, please visit

About DPD-207 and XF-73

XF drug candidates, including DPD-207 and XF-73, are synthetic anti-microbial drugs that have demonstrated a unique no/low resistance profile against many drug resistant strains. By acting via a cell-surface mechanism, they affect bacterial membrane permeability and integrity, leading to rapid cell death. Destiny Pharma therefore believes the XF platform has the potential to deliver novel drugs that are clearly differentiated from traditional antibiotics where resistance limits their utility.

XF-73 has been through seven successful Phase I/IIa clinical trials, demonstrating safety and efficacy in delivering a rapid antibacterial action. XF-73 is currently in a Phase IIb clinical trial for the prevention of post-surgical staphylococcal infections. In the US alone, there are approximately 40 million surgeries per annum where the patient is at risk of a post-surgical infection. However, within this large population there are particular groups who are at an even higher risk of infection predominately due to the nature of their surgery or procedure. These higher risk surgical procedures include cardiovascular, orthopaedic and other complex surgeries. Destiny Pharma estimates that this totals approximately 14 million US surgeries per year, with this figure set to rise within the context of an ageing population and is an opportunity with one billion-dollar peak sales.

DPD-207 differs in structure from XF-73 and has been chemically designed to carry an iron atom within the central porphyrin structure. This chemical modification has been made to potentially enhance the drug’s physico-chemical profile for ocular administration.

About National Biofilms Innovation Centre (NBIC)

NBIC is the central hub where academia, industry, government, and public policy come together to tackle the global challenges biofilms present, through a forward-thinking, collaborative and interdisciplinary approach. Funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Innovate UK and Hartree Centre, our mission is to establish a network of research and innovation capacity in order to catalyse partnerships with industry in the study of biofilms to achieve breakthrough innovations and impact – from industry products and solutions to services and spinouts. The four core partners are the University of Southampton, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Liverpool and the University of Nottingham. They have now been joined by an additional 27 universities and over 60 industry partners in the aim to prevent, detect, manage and engineer solutions in biofilms.

The University of Sheffield

With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities. A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines. Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in. Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2018 and for the last eight years has been ranked in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education. Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields. Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.