For a safer 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

February 2021

Immunethep announces research collaboration with MSD

The goal of the research is to evaluate bacterial glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) as a suitable virulence factor in developing potential immunotherapies for the treatment and/or prevention of bacterial infections.

Download the Press Release below:

September 2020

Immunethep Addresses COVID-19

With the breakout of the Covid-19 pandemic, Immunethep decided to put its capabilities and knowledge to find new solutions that could help to stop this disease.

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October 2018

Immunethep raises additional financing to strengthen strategic industry partnerships and to prepare for clinical trials

Immunethep, a biotech company that develops anti-bacterial immunotherapies for life-threatening infections, has raised additional funding from its lead investor Portugal Ventures of 0.5+ M€ to further develop strategic industry partnerships and prepare for clinical trials.

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March 2018

Immunethep wins the Premios EmprendedorXXI Life Sciences award

Immunethep has been awarded with the prize for the Iberian Startup with highest potential in the Life Sciences field by the CaixaBank Group in the 11th edition of the Premios Emprendedor XXI held in Barcelona. Immunethep was chosen amongst 701 applications from all the Iberian Peninsula in the first edition that applications from Portugal were admitted.
The company would like to thank Fundación La Caixa and BPI for the opportunity and the prize, and also to all the Immunethep team for the efforts that made this possible.

March 2018

Immunethep appoints António Coutinho for its Scientific Advisory Board

António Coutinho, M.D., Ph.D., expert in Immunology with over 450 published papers in immunology and biology journals, was appointed as Scientific Advisor of Immunethep.
"We are very pleased to have one of the most influential experts in Immunology in our team of advisors" said Pedro Madureira, CSO of Immunethep. "We are sure that with Professor António Coutinho's contribution, Immunethep will take a major step into clinical trials with our first product whilst is advancing with a robust pipeline".

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October 2017

Immunethep receives grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Immunethep has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to test an antibody product included in its pipeline of antibacterial immunotherapies.
The company’s R&D and Intellectual Property is based on the discovery of a virulence mechanism shared by different bacteria that cause life-threatening infections.
Immunethep has been steadily advancing with its clinical roadmap which started with the PNV candidate vaccine that has successfully concluded pre-clinical trials.

Download the Press Release below:

April 2017

Portuguese Prime Minister inaugurates Biocant new building

Immunethep new laboratory in the new building is up and running at full speed.
The Portuguese prime minister considers Biocant Park “an excellent example for the new model of Portuguese development, the investment in qualification, innovation and knowledge valorisation”. “Over 50% of the companies in Biocant Park’s new building are not Portuguese. At the Biocant Park employment is being generated and it is attracting foreign companies to invest in Portugal creating the value the country needs to grow.”
Immunethep’s steady growth requires a larger laboratory space as it is currently preparing to enter clinical trials with its first anti-bacterial immunotherapy, a vaccine that prevents multiple bacterial infections.
Immunethep’s team has achieve so much in the “old” laboratory, making us believe that the new “home” is ready to bring many more joys in the next years!

See more here

February 2017

Immunethep presents at the 10th Berlin Conference on Life Sciences

The 10th Berlin Conference on Life Sciences explored the exciting market and challenging conditions for the development of “Novel Antimicrobials – big drugs for bad bugs”.
Immunethep was amongst the six startups invited to present its breakthrough approach on immunotherapies tackling bacterial infections.

See more here

December 2016

Immunethep visits MIT with Portuguese Minister of Economy

Immunethep was with the Portuguese Minister of Economy and the US Ambassador in a mission of Portuguese biotech companies in Boston.
In a two-day programme that included the event “Portugal Day at MassBio”, Immunethep was one of the five companies selected by the Ministry of Economy to represent the Portuguese biotech ecosystem.

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April 2015

Portugal Ventures invests in Immunethep

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 from the University of Porto represents a very important milestone and assures that Immunethep is right on track to start planning for clinical trials” says Bruno Santos, CEO.

+++ Immunethep at Events +++

Premios Emprendedor XXI award ceremony, Barcelona – March 19-21

MSD Partnering Symposium, London, January 31

JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2018, San Francisco - January 8-11

BIO-Europe 2017. Berlin, Germany – November 6-8

RUMO Conferences by Astrazeneca, 2017. Porto, Portugal – September 29 (Presentation by CSO)

17th Annual Biotech in Europe Forum, SACHS 2017. Basel, Switzerland – September 26-27

XLIII Annual Meeting of Sociedade Portuguesa de Imunologia, 2017. Porto, Portugal – June 14-16 (Presentation by Head of R&D)

Immunology Day sponsored by Sociedade Portuguesa de Imunologia, 2017. Porto, Portugal – April 28 (Presentation by CSO)

Superbugs & Superdrugs 2017. London, UK – March 20-21

III Jornadas de Bioengenharia of Instituto Superior Técnico, 2017. Lisbon, Portugal – March 6-10 (Presentation by CSO)

10th Conference on Life Sciences – Novel Antimicrobials 2017. Berlin, Germany – February 24 (Presentation by CEO)

Portugal Day at MassBio 2016. Boston, USA – December 19 (Presentation by CEO)

BIO-Europe 2016. Cologne, Germany – November 7-9

BIO International Convention 2016. San Francisco, USA – June 6-9

Immunology Day sponsored by Sociedade Portuguesa de Imunologia, 2016. Porto, Portugal – April 29 (Presentation by CSO)

World Vaccine Congress Europe 2015. Madrid, Spain – November 9-11 (Presentation by CSO)

+++ Immunethep in Publications and Studies +++

Nogueira C.A., Evaluation of the efficacy of a peptide-based vaccine (PNV1) against multi-resistant gram-negative bacteria in a neonatal mice model (2017), Master Thesis, University of Porto (Supervision by Pedro Madureira, Immunethep CSO).

Rodrigues T., Study the accessibility of IL-10 locus in a murine model of Neonatal Sepsis (2017), Master Thesis, University of Porto (Supervision by Pedro Madureira, Immunethep CSO).

Lemos F.G., Study of the cellular and molecular mechanisms associated with neonatal susceptibility to bacterial infections (2016), Master Thesis, University of Porto (Supervision by Pedro Madureira, Immunethep CSO).

Get in touch with us

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