For a safe tomorrow.

Developing immunotherapies to address life threatening bacterial infections

“There are high proportions of antibiotic resistance in bacteria that cause common infections (e.g. urinary tract infections, pneumonia, bloodstream infections) in all regions of the world.” [..] “.. antibiotic resistance is no longer a prediction for the future; it is happening right now, across the world, and is putting at risk the ability to treat common infections in the community and hospitals.”

“Resistance to one of the most widely used antibacterial drugs for the oral treatment of urinary tract infections caused by E. coli – fluoroquinolones – is very widespread.” [..] “Resistance to first-line drugs to treat infections caused by Staphlylococcus aureus – a common cause of severe infections acquired both in health-care facilities and in the community – is also widespread.” [..] “Resistance to the treatment of last resort for life-threatening infections caused by common intestinal bacteria” [..] “has spread to all regions of the world.”

“Patients with infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria are generally at increased risk of worse clinical outcomes and death, and consume more health-care resources than patients infected with the same bacteria that are not resistant.”

Antimicrobial resistance kills: As an example, people with MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, another common source of severe infections in the community and in hospitals) are estimated to be 64% more likely to die than people with a non-resistant form of the infection.”

Antimicrobial resistance hampers the control of infectious diseases: Antimicrobial resistance reduces the effectiveness of treatment; thus patients remain infectious for a longer time, increasing the risk of spreading resistant microorganisms to others.”

WHO fact sheet Nº194: “Antimicrobial resistance”

Immunethep has developed an anti-bacterial immunotherapy based on the discovery of a virulence mechanism shared by a set of different pathogenic bacteria.

We discovered that a single molecule (extracellular protein) which is excreted by the pathogenic bacteria is able to completely shut down the host immune system, letting the bacteria thrive and causing severe infections. Thus, by neutralizing this molecule we can induce protection.

By addressing an extracellular virulence factor that is highly conserved in the different bacteria, our anti-bacterial immunotherapy elicits protective antibodies against all the serotypes of the referred bacterial pathogens. This way, it will also prevent the emergence of strains which are not addressed by current vaccines that only address structural epitopes.

The first product, PNV1 - Paragon Novel Vaccine, is a preventive strategy that will confer a robust protection against the main life threatening bacterial infections.

Immunethep’s PNV1 will be the first vaccine able to prevent multi-bacterial infections from all its serotypes from the womb until elderhood.

Who we are

Immunethep is a biotech startup company (spin-off from the University of Porto) that is developing anti-bacterial immunotherapies based on the discovery of a virulence mechanism shared by different bacteria that cause life-threatening infections.

These therapies are the outcome of more than 30 years of research at the Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar (ICBAS) of the University of Porto.

“Drug-resistant infections already directly cause an estimated 700,000 deaths each year. it’s expected that will rise to 10 million a year by 2050. If nothing changes by then, this scale of human suffering and premature deaths will have set the world’s GDP back by as much as 3.5%.”

“One way to reduce the impact of drug resistance would be to develop vaccines for more infections, and to use the vaccines we have to systematically control or eliminate those diseases. However, there are still several infections for which we do not have vaccines, and drug treatment is the only effective response.”

Mark Henderson, Welcome Trust


Portugal Ventures invests in Immunethep

We are very pleased to announce that Immunethep has successfully closed its first round of funding from Portugal Ventures through its fund “Fundo de Capital de Risco Portugal Ventures Biocant”.

“Getting this first round of investment 7 months after we licensed the patent represents a very important milestone and assures that Immunethep is right on track to start planning for clinical trials” says Bruno Santos, CEO. “We are already in discussions with pharmaceutical companies that have shown interest to collaborate and further develop Immunethep’s technology” he adds.

Meanwhile, Pedro Madureira, Chief Scientific Officer of Immunethep says that this funding “will allow Immunethep to continue developing its technology and prepare for human clinical trials.” He also adds that “Closing this deal demonstrates the potential of this innovative approach to vaccine development which is the outcome of decades of research from the University of Porto. We are now one step closer to develop a vaccine that can save millions of lives.”

The Call For Entrepreneurship is the entry point to the Ignition Programme, an initiative spearheaded by Portugal Ventures and which is an integral part of the +e+i Programme (more entrepreneurship, more innovation). The objective of this programme is to bolster the Portuguese technology-based entrepreneurship ecosystem, thus contributing to the development of a more modern and competitive economy, open to the world, based on knowledge, innovation and highly qualified human capital, with a strong entrepreneurial spirit. Through this initiative, Portugal Ventures aims to invest around 20 million Euros, per year. Some of the venture capital funds managed by Portugal Ventures are co-financed by the European Union through FINOVA, managed by PME Investimentos, COMPETE and POR LISBOA.

About Immunethep
Immunethep is a biotechnology company focused on drug development for Immune System related pathologies. Immunethep is a Spin-off from the University of Porto that uses its proprietary technology to address unmet medical needs.

Get in touch with us

Immunethep, SA
Biocant Park - Núcleo 04 Lote 3 - 3060-197 Cantanhede - Portugal