The merger between C3J Therapeutics and AmpliPhi Biosciences to create Armata Pharmaceuticals is complete. Armata, a clinical-stage biotechnology company, will be focused on creating bacteriophage therapeutics, or bacterial viruses used to infect and kill bacteria, for antibiotic-resistant infections.
Steve Martin, CEO of Armata, told us, that the aim of the merger is to combine AmpliPhi’s natural phage development capabilities and libraries with the phage engineering platform from C3J.
Armata’s pipeline of bacteriophage candidates include a Staphylococcus aureaus natural phage product that is currently in Phase I/II trials, and early-stage Pseudomonas aeruginosa phage candidates, and pneumonia and cystic fibrosis natural phage product candidates.
Martin said that depending on the bacterial target, Armata can develop either natural phage candidates or synthetic phage. He further explained that its natural phage candidates, like that of Staphylococcus aureus, can cover over 95% of known isolates with only three phage.
Armata, because of the merger, will have phage-based good manufacturing practice (GMP) manufacturing sites.
In 2015, AmpliPhi’s plant in Ljubljana, Slovenia, became a current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) manufacturing facility for phage therapy.
AmpliPhi was producing phage therapies to target Staphyloccous aureas and Pseudomonas aeruginosa for early stage clinical trials in 2015, around which time the company began trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
The company also has synthetic phage candidates being developed with Merck, known as MSD outside North America, as an undisclosed infectious disease agent.
Per the merger agreement, existing C3J shareholders invested a total of $10m (€8.8m) into Armata bringing the total investment into the company to approximately $16m. Armata stated that these financing proceeds will be used to advance the company’s preclinical and clinical programs.