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Positive Preclinical Efficacy data for LASCCO’s CAL02 published in Nature Biotechnology

November 2, 2014

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – LASCCO announces the publication of positive preclinical efficacy studies for its anti-infective drug CAL02 in Nature Biotechnology. These results confirm the potency of LASCCO’s anti-virulence approach to treat severe bacterial infections and represent a major step forward in the fight against severe bacterial infections and antibiotic resistance.

The publication titled "Engineered liposomes sequester bacterial exotoxins and protect from severe invasive infections in mice” and which appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Biotechnology (link), reveals that a new liposomal agent can act as a decoy to neutralize damaging bacterial toxins and rescue mice from fatal bacteraemia and pneumonia. The work led by Dr. Babiychuk and Professor Draeger of the University of Bern shows that by mimicking specific cell-surface microdomains, CAL02 neutralizes bacterial toxins and thereby significantly improves the survival of mice infected with a lethal dose of Streptococcus pneumoniae or Staphylococcus aureus and protects against clinical deterioration.

“This anti-virulence approach markedly improves antibiotherapy” said Dr. Babiychuk who conducted the study in Bern, and added: “CAL02 has also the potential for being used as a monotherapy, for example in the case of resistant bacterial infections, since, on its own, it effectively leads to a significant decrease in blood bacterial loads.”

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria kill some 50,000 in the U.S. and Europe each year. On their own, antibiotics are powerless to solve the problem of resistance on the long term, as the risk of the emergence of resistance is inherent to their use. New classes of anti-infectives that do not impose a selective pressure on bacterial growth are therefore crucially needed. Among the most promising strategies addressing this issue are those tailored to disarm bacteria by targeting their virulence factors rather than to kill them. The Nature Biotechnology publication highlights that, as opposed to monoclonal antibodies blocking specific bacterial toxins, CAL02 is a broad-spectrum agent active against a variety of clinically relevant toxins, including those released by antibiotic-resistant strains.

“These in vivo studies strongly support our decision to conduct a first-in-human study next year in severely-ill patients with pneumococcal pneumonia” commented Samareh Azeredo da Silveira Lajaunias, Managing Director at LASCCO. “This new drug meets crucial medical needs, since virulence factors such as toxins are responsible for serious infection-related complications. These complications concern 23% of individuals affected by community-acquired pneumonia, extend hospitalisation in intensive care units, and tremendously increase the cost of care.”
are very pleased to receive positive advice from MHRA’s experts on our preclinical and clinical program”, says Frédéric Lajaunias, co-founder and Managing Director of LASCCO. “We will promptly complete the non-clinical program needed to transition to the clinical stage with a view to initiating a first-in-man study, using CAL02 as an adjunctive treatment to standard of care for the treatment of severe pneumococcal pneumonia.”


About CAL02

CAL02 is a broad-spectrum anti-virulence therapeutic agent targeting bacterial toxins for the treatment of severe infections, including those caused by antibiotic-resistant strains. It consists of two lipidic nanoparticles exclusively composed of ubiquitous dietary lipids constituents of the mammalian membranes. CAL02 acts in synergy with the antibiotics and also indirectly affects bacterial survival by depriving bacteria from the tools they use to feed and multiply, and by protecting the immune system, which can then appropriately combat the infection. The product is at preclinical stage.


LASCCO SA ( was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The company focuses on the development of discovery-stage biomedical technologies. LASCCO validates the potential of new pharmaceuticals or diagnostics, and brings them to the attention of the industry for commercialization. Areas of focus are infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, inflammation, and neurodegenerative disorders. The company partnered with major diagnostics companies in 2012 for its biomarker for the diagnosis of sepsis.


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