Polyphor Ltd.

Stock Exchange: Privately held Ticker: - HQ: Allschwil, Switzerland Employees: 100 Signatory to Davos Decl: Yes Signatory to Industry Roadmap: No
Performance by research area
How Polyphor Ltd. was evaluated
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Applicable indicator Not applicable


Polyphor is a biopharmaceutical company, selected for having a pipeline that targets priority pathogens. It was evaluated in the area of Research & Development only. It invested more than USD 5 million in antibiotic drug development in 2016. The company performs well when compared with other biopharmaceutical companies in scope. It has three projects in its antimicrobial R&D pipeline, all targeting priority pathogens. Polyphor engages in public-private partnerships to develop its candidate compounds. The company has one R&D project in late-stage clinical development, but reports no information on access or stewardship provisions for this candidate.


Polyphor, founded in 1996, is a privately-held Swiss-based biopharmaceutical company, focussing on the development of macrocycle drugs that address antibiotic resistance and severe pulmonary diseases. Polyphor discovered a new class of antibiotics effective against gram-negative bacteria, the Outer Membrane Protein Targeting Antibiotics (OMPTA). The most advanced drug candidate is murepavadin, indicated for the treatment of infections caused by P. aeruginosa. Murepavadin recently entered Phase III clinical studies, after showing encouraging results in a Phase II study in patients with ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia (VABP), when co-administered with standard- of-care treatment. Polyphor also develops an inhaled formulation of murepavadin for cystic fibrosis as part of a consortium, funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a public-private partnership of EFPIA and the EU.

While murepavadin is selective for P. aeruginosa, the next generation of OMPTAs are broad-spectrum antibiotics, which target most important gram-negative pathogens, including extensively drug-resistant (XDR) and multidrug-resistant (MDR) strains. In early 2017, Polyphor received a CHF 2.3 million award from the Wellcome Trust to advance the development of its broad-spectrum, gram-negative preclinical candidates. The company has a proprietary macrocycle discovery platform, frequently used in research collaborations with other pharmaceutical companies. Polyphor is a member of the BEAM alliance, a group of biopharmaceutical companies addressing the regulatory and commercial environments in Europe regarding R&D, approval and market viability of products combating antimicrobial resistance. Polyphor has no products on the market. In 2017, the company announced that it had successfully completed a CHF 40 million private financing round, 98% of which came from existing investors, with substantial contributions from Varuma AG and Ingro Finanz AG.

Antimicrobial Portfolio

Polyphor does not have any products on the market.


Plan ahead for access and stewardship during R&D. Polyphor is developing one antibiotic candidate (murepavadin) in late-stage clinical development. Polyphor can ensure access and stewardship provisions are in place for murepavadin, for example, through partnerships.

A. Research & Development

Indicators scored on
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  • 2.1
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  • 3
  • 4
Antimicrobial pipeline
3 projects, 3 target priority pathogens

A.2.1-2.2 Novel antibiotics that address cross-resistance. 

Biopharmaceutical companies in scope were selected based on their pipelines that target priority bacteria. Polyphor invested more than USD 5 million in antibiotic drug development in 2016. The company has three projects in its antimicrobial R&D pipeline targeting priority pathogens, focussed on gram-negative bacteria. Polyphor’s novel antibiotic murepavadin (POL7080) targeting P. aeruginosa is entering Phase III clinical trials. Murepavadin is a synthetic macrocyclic protein that binds to a specific protein in the outer membrane of P. aeruginosa, interfering with its proper functioning and ultimately killing the pathogen. The company has more compounds in preclinical stage using the same molecular target class, outer membrane proteins. This makes Polyphor one of the few companies developing innovative antibiotics that address cross-resistance.

A.3 At least one R&D project being developed with public partners.* 

Polyphor is developing one R&D project in its priority pathogen pipeline through a public-private partnership*: this is its preclinical OMPTA platform, developed in collaboration with the University of Zurich and with financial support from the Swiss government (amount not known). In 2017, the development of this broad-spectrum platform targeting gram-negative pathogens also received funding from the Wellcome Trust (CHF 2.3 million). Polyphor is not developing its clinical stage candidate, murepavadin, via public-private partnership. In 2013, the company signed an exclusive worldwide licence agreement with Roche to develop and commercialise murepavadin. In 2015, Roche decided to discontinue its involvement and Polyphor continues the clinical development of the compound.

A.4 No information on access or stewardship provisions. 

Polyphor reports no information on access or stewardship provisions for its antibiotic candidate in late-stage development. It has signed the Davos Declaration, which includes a general commitment to ensuring access to antimicrobial medicines and vaccines, and to support the appropriate and responsible use of these products.

Pipeline targeting priority pathogens


B. Manufacturing & Production

As a biopharmaceutical company with no products on the market, Polyphor was not eligible for this Research Area.

C. Appropriate Access & Stewardship

As a biopharmaceutical company with no products on the market, Polyphor was not eligible for this Research Area.

* After the Benchmark’s period of analysis, Polyphor entered into collaboration with the public-private partnership Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), as part of the iABC consortium, to co-fund and advance the development of its inhaled formulation of murepavadin.

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