Hexima is pleased to announce the commencement of a project to assess the application of Hexima’s antifungal technology in control of medically important Candidaemias and Candida-based biofilms. Systemic Candida infections are a major problem in immunocompromised patients where they are associated with high morbidity and mortality. These infections often arise from biofilms that form on cannulas, catheters and surgical implants and which are difficult to treat with standard antifungal therapies.

Early work on this project has identified several plant defensins with the ability to kill Candida growing in a biofilm. Hexima will continue to assess the activity and safety profile of these defensins with the aim of progressing any promising candidates into pre-clinical proof-of-concept animal models. Hexima’s lead researcher on this project, Dr James McKenna, presented these results over the weekend at the American Society of Microbiology annual meeting in Boston (ASM Microbe 2017). A copy of the poster can be found here.

The Candida project will be partially funded by a Science and Industry Endowment Fund STEMBusiness Fellowship awarded to Dr McKenna. This fellowship will allow Dr McKenna, an early career researcher based at the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS), to work with Hexima to investigate novel applications of the plant defensin technology. The SIEF STEM+ Business Fellowships are designed as a mechanism for Early Career Researchers (ECR) to build new skills and relationships with industry. We congratulate Dr McKenna on receiving this fellowship and look forward to working with him on progressing Hexima’s technology.